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History of Egypt 

From 330 B. C. to the Present Time 

By S. RAPPOPORT, Doctor of Philosophy, Basel ; 
Member of the Ecole Langues Orientales, Paris ; 
Russian, German, French Orientalist and Philologist 







Volume III, 




lEtittion Nattcmalc 

Limited to One Thousand Copies 
for England and America 

S\b. 618 

Copyright, 1904 
By The Grolier Society 





The Ideal of the Crusader — Saladin's Campaign — Richard I. in Pales- 
tine — Siege of Damietta — St. Louis in Egypt — The Mamluks — 
Beybars' Policy 3 



Napoleon's campaign — Battles of the Pyramids and of Abukir — Siege of 

Acre — K16ber's administration — The evacuation of Egypt . . 81 



Mehemet's rise to power — Massacre of the Mamluks — Invasion of the 
Morea — Battle of the Navarino — Struggle with the Porte — Abbas 
Pasha, Muhammed Said, and Ismail Pasha — Ismail's lavish expendi- 
ture — Foreign bondholders and the Dual Control .... 143 



Ismail deposed — Tewfik Pasha — Revolt of Arabi Pasha — Lord Wolseley 
and the Battle of Tel-el-Kebir — The Mahdist Rising — General Gor- 
don in the Sudan — Death of Gordon — The Sudan abandoned and 
re-conquered — Battle of Omdurman — Khartum College — Financial 
Stability — Abbas II. — Education, Law, and the improved condition 
of the Fellaheen — The Caisse de la Dette 191 




The White and Blue Niles — The Barrage — Clearing the Sudd — The 
Suez Canal — Ancient and modern irrigation — The Dam at Aswan — 
The modern exploration of the Nile ....... 235 



The Rosetta Stone — The Discoveries of Dr. Thomas Young — The classi- 
fication of the Egyptian Alphabet by Champollion — Egyptian Love- 
songs and the Book of the Dead . 291 



Mariette, Wilkinson, Bunsen, Brugsch, and Ebers — Erman's speech on 
Egypt — The Egyptian Exploration Fund — Maspero's investiga- 
tions — The Temple of Bubastis — Ancient record of " Israel " — 
American interest in Egyptology . . . . . . .319 



The Royal Tombs at Abydos — Reconstruction of the First and Second 
Dynasties — The Ten Temples at Abydos — The statuette of Khu - 
f ui — Pottery and Pottery Marks — The Expedition of the University 
of California ........... 357 



French Soldiers at Karnak Frontispiece 

Ornament from the porch of Hasan ........ 3 

Arabic Decorative Painting 7 

Enamelled glass cup from Arabia 13 

Gate of El Futuh at Cairo 15 

Arab Drinking -Vessels 19 

Vase in the Abbott Collection 25 

Public Fountain, Cairo 27 

Court in the Moristan of Kilawun 39 

Window in the Mausoleum of Kilawun 43 

Interior in the Mosque of Kilawun 49 

Tombs of the Mamluks 53 

Frieze in Mosque of Sultan Hasan 55 

Inside the Mosque of Hasan 59 

Mosque of Berkuk 63 

The Tomb of Berkuk 65 

A Title-Page of the Koran of the Time of Shaban 67 

Prayer-Niche in the Mosque of the Sultan Mahmudi .... 69 

Ornamental page from a Koran of the fourteenth century . . .71 

Mosque of Kait Bey, Cairo 73 

Wadi Feiran, in the Sinai Peninsula 76 

Mausoleum of El Ghuri 77 

Bonaparte in Egypt ........... 81 

Bedouins in the Desert 83 

The old harbour of Alexandria 85 

Water-Carriers , 89 

The Prophet Muhammed (from a ninth century MS.) . . . .91 

Street Dogs ..... ...... 97 

Gathering Dates 101 

Khedive's Palace at Bulak 105 




The Ataka Mountains in the Gulf of Suez 107 

Bas-Relief on Granite Wall at Karnak 110 

A Fountain at Cairo . . . 112 

Cairo from the left bank of the Nile 119 

Statue of General K16ber at Strasburg 124 

A Modern Fanatic 130 

Citadel of Cairo 137 

Arabic Geometric Decoration 143 

Mehemet Ali 143 

Mosque of Mehemet Ali in the Citadel 151 

Courtyard of the House of Quasim Bey • .154 

The Cotton Plant 157 

A Distinguished Egyptian Jew .161 

Mosque of Muad at Cairo . . . . • • * . .165 

A Muhammedan Praying Priest 169 

Egyptian Harem . 173 

Harbour of Bulak 179 

A Fellah Plowing 185 

Arabs at a Desert Spring 187 

Part of Cairo, showing the Mulqufs on the Houses of Modern Egypt . 190 

Tombs of Beni Hasan .......... 191 

The Khedive Tewfik 195 

Palace of the Khedive at Alexandria 201 

Osman Digna 204 

Mosque of the Holy Ibrahim at Desuk 207 

Lord Kitchener of Khartum -. .210 

Slave Boats on the Nile . . .218 

Viscount Cromer (Sir Evelyn Baring) 223 

Bazar in Aswan . . . . 227 

Mosque of El Ghuri at Cairo . . / 232 

Crocodiles and Hippopotamus in the Nile 235 

The Plain of Thebes 237 

The Harbour at Suez 240 

The Nile Barrage 241 

Scale of the Nilometer .245 

A Modern Sakieh 247 

Hieroglyphic Record of an Ancient Canal 251 

Ferry from Egypt to Syria ......... 254 

Remains of the Canal of Omar . 255 

Ferdinand de Lesseps .......... 259 

The opening of the Suez Canal 263 

Approach to Philse . 269 


The Main Stream of the Nile 

Examples of Phoenician Glass 

Jean Francois Champollion 

Phoenician Jewelry 

House of Mariette at Saqqara 

The Great Hall of Abydos 

Propylon at Denderah 

Types of Egyptian columns 

Ruins at Luxor . 

The Lotus Flower (Nymphsea Lotus) 

The word " Israel " in Hieroglyphs 

A Sealing discovered at Abydos 

Ebony Tablet of King Aha-Mena 

Tomb of Zer, 4700 b. c. . 

Tomb of Zet, Circa 4700 b. c. . 

Tablet of Den-Setui, 4600 b. c. . 

Architectural drawing, 4600 b. c. 

Ivory Panel of Den-Setui, 4600 b. c. 

Stairway in Tomb of Azab 

Tomb of Mersekha, showing wooden floor 

Stele of King Qa 

Stone Chamber of Khasekhemui 

Gold-capped vases and gold bracelets 

Wall of Usirtasen I. . 

Ivory Statuette of First Dynasty King 

Ivory Statuette of Khufui . 

Carved Ivory Lion 

Ancient Egyptian Arrows . 

Miscellaneous copper objects 

Ivory comb, 4800 b. c. 

Corn-grinder and three-sided bowl 

Types of Prehistoric and First Dynasty Pottery 

Pottery Marks . 

Pottery forms from Abydos 

Types of Sealings 

A sealing showing Jars 

Accounts on Pottery, 4600 b. c. 

Unique instance of a dissected burial 





+++- — 


Spread of Muhammedanism — Spirit of the Crusades — The Fati- 
mite Caliphs — SaladirCs brilliant reign — Capture of Damietta — 
Conquests of Beybars — Mamluks in power — Wars with Cyprus — 
Turkish misrule — Napoleon invades Egypt — Battle of the Pyramids 

— Policy of conciliation — Nelson destroys the French fleet — Napoleon 
in Syria — Battle at Mount Carmel — Napoleon returns to France 

— Negotiations for surrender — Kleber assassinated — French army 
surrenders — Rise of Mehemet Ali — Massacre of the Mamluks — 
Egyptian army reorganized — Ibrahim Pasha in Greece — Battle of 
Navarino — Revolt against Turkey — Character of Mehemet Ali — 
Reforms under his Rule — Ismail Pasha made Khedive — Financial 
difficulties of Egypt — England and France assume control — Tewfik 
Pasha becomes Khedive — Revolt of Arabi Pasha — TJie Mahdist in- 
surrection — Death of General Gordon — Kitchener's campaign against 

( 2 ) 

the Dervishes — Prosperity of Egypt under English control — Abbas 
Pasha becomes Khedive — Education, courts, and government of 
modern Egypt — The Nile ; its valley, branches, and delta — Ancient 
irrigation systems — The Suez Canal, its inception and completion — 
The great dam at Aswan — Ancient search for the sources of the Nile 
— Modern discoveries in Central Africa — The Hieroglyphs — Origin 
of the alphabet — Egyptian literature — Mariettas discoveries — The 
German Egyptologists — Jeremiah verified — Maspero, Naville, and 
Petrie — Palaeolithic man — Egyptian record of Israel — Egypt Ex- 
ploration Fund — The royal tombs at Abydos — Chronology of the 
early kings — Steles, pottery, and jewelry — The temples of Abydos — 
Seals, statuettes, and ceramic*. 



The Ideal of the Crusader : Saladin's Campaign : Richard I. in Palestine : Siege 
of Damietta : St. Louis in Egypt : The Mamluks : Beybars* Policy. 

/r ^ rTTOIT _ T ^^ THE traditional history of the Chris- 

tian Church has generally main- 
tained that the Crusades were due 
solely to religious influence and 
sprang from ideal and moral motives: 
those hundreds of thousands of war- 
riors who went out to the East were 
religious enthusiasts, prompted by the 
pious longings of their hearts, and 
Peter the Hermit, it was claimed, had 
received a divine message to call 
Christendom to arms, to preach a 
Crusade against the unbelievers and take possession of 
the Holy Sepulchre. That such ideal reasons should be 



attributed to a war like the Crusades, of a wide and far- 
reaching influence on the political and intellectual devel- 
opment of mediaeval Europe, is not at all surprising. 
In the history of humanity there have been few wars 
in which the combatants on both sides were not con- 
vinced that they had drawn their swords for some noble 
purpose, for the cause of right and justice. That the 
motives prompting the vast display of arms witnessed 
during the Crusades, that the wanderings of those crowds 
to the East during two centuries, and the cruelties com- 
mitted by the saintly warriors on their way to the Holy 
Sepulchre, should be attributed exclusively to ideal and 
religious sources is therefore quite natural. It is not to 
be denied that there was a religious factor in the Cru- 
sades; but that the religious motive was not the sole 
incentive has now been agreed upon by impartial his- 
torians ; and in so far as the motives animating the Cru- 
saders were religious motives, we are to look to powerful 
influences which gradually made themselves felt from 
without the ecclesiastical organisations. It was by no 
means a movement which the Church alone had called 
into being. On the contrary, only when the movement 
had grown ripe did Gregory VJLL hasten to take steps 
to enable the Church to control it. The idea of a Crusade 
for the glory of religion had not sprung from the tenets 
of Christianity; it was given to mediaeval Europe by the 

History can hardly boast of another example of so 
gigantic a conquest during so short a period as that 
gained by the first adherents of Islam. Like the fiery 


wind of the desert, they had broken from their retreats, 
animated by the promises of the Prophet, and spread 
the new doctrine far and wide. In 653 the scimitar of 
the Saracens enclosed an area as large as the Roman 
Empire under the Caesars. Barely forty years elapsed 
after the death of the Prophet when the armies of Islam 
reached the Atlantic. Okba, the wild and gallant leader, 
rode into the sea on the western shore of Africa, and, 
whilst the seething waves reached to the saddle of his 
camel, he exclaimed: " Allah, I call thee as witness that 
I should have carried the knowledge of Thy name still 
farther, if these waves threatening to swallow me would 
not have prevented me from doing so." Not long after 
this, the flag of the crescent was waving from the Pyre- 
nees to the Chinese mountains. In 711 the Saracens 
under General Tarik crossed the straits between the 
Mediterranean and the Atlantic, and landed on the rock 
which has since been called after him, " the hill of 
Tarik," Jebel el-Tarik or Gibraltar. Spain was invaded 
and captured by the Moslems. For awhile it seemed 
as if on the other side of the Garonne the crescent would 
also supplant the cross, and only the victory of Charles 
Martel in 732 put a stop to the wave of Muhammedan 

Thus in a brief period Muhammedanism spread from 
the Nile Valley to the Mediterranean. Muhammed's 
trenchant argument was the sword. He gave a distinct 
command to his followers to convince the infidels of the 
power of truth on the battle-field. " The sword is a 
surer argument than books," he said. Accordingly 


the Koran ordered war against unbelievers: " The sword 
is the key to heaven and hell; a drop of blood shed in 
the cause of Allah, a night spent in arms, is of more avail 
than two months of fasting and prayer; whoever falls 
in battle, his sins are forgiven, and at the day of judg- 
ment his limbs shall be supplied with the wings of angels 
and cherubim." Before the battle commenced, the com- 
manders reminded the warriors of the beautiful celestial 
houris who awaited the heroes slain in battle at the gates 
of Paradise. 

The first efforts having been crowned with success, 
the Moslems soon became convinced of the fulfilment 
of the prophecy that Allah had given them the world 
and wished them to subdue all unbelievers. Under the 
Caliph Omar, the Arabs had become a religious-political 
community of warriors, whose mission it was to conquer 
and plunder all civilised and cultured lands and to un- 
furl the banner of the crescent. They believed that 
" Paradise is under the shadow of the sword." In this 
belief the followers of Muhammed engaged in battle with- 
out fear or anxiety, spurred to great deeds, reckless in 
the face of danger, happy to die and pass to the delights 
of Paradise. The " holy war " became an armed prop- 
aganda pleasing to Allah. It was, however, a form of 
propaganda quite unknown and amazing to Christendom. 
In the course of two centuries the crescent had sup- 
planted the cross. Of what avail was the peaceful mis- 
sionary's preaching if province after province and coun- 
try after country were taken possession of by the new 
religion that forced its way by means of fire and sword? 


Was it not natural that Christian Europe should con- 
ceive the idea of doing for their religion what the Mos- 
lems did for Islam? and that, following the example of 
Moslems in their " holy war/' Christians should emulate 
them in the Crusades ? 

It must not be forgotten also that the Arabs, almost 
from the first appearance of Muhammedanism, were 
under the refining and elevat- 
ing influences of art and sci- 
ence. While the rest of Europe 
was in the midnight of the 
Dark Ages, the Moorish uni- 
versities of Spain were the 
beacon of the revival of learn- 
ing. The Christian teacher 
was still manipulating the 
bones of the saints when the 
Arab physician was practising 
surgery. The monachal schools 
and monasteries in Italy, 

Prance, and Germany were still grappling with poor 
scholastic knowledge when Arab scholars were well ad- 
vanced in the study of Aristotle and Plato. Stimulated 
by their acquaintance with the works of Ptolemy and 
Euclid, Galenus and Hippocrates, they extended their 
researches into the dominions of astronomy, mathematics, 
and medicine. 

The religious orders of the knights, a product of the 
Crusades, found their antitype in similar organisations 
of the Moslems, orders that had exactly the same tend- 



encies and regulations. Such an order established for 
the spread of Islam and the protection of its followers 
was that of the Raabites or boundary-guards in the Pyre- 
nean peninsula. These knights made a vow to carry, 
throughout their lives, arms in defence of the faith; they 
led an austere existence, were not allowed to fly in battle, 
but were compelled either to conquer or fall. Like the 
Templars or the Hospital Knights their whole endeavour 
was to gain universal dominion for their religion. The 
relation existing between the Moslems and the Chris- 
tians before the Crusades was much closer than is gen- 
erally imagined. Moslem soldiers often fought in the 
ranks of the Christian armies; and it was by no means 
rare to see a Christian ruler call upon Moslem warriors 
to assist him against his adversary. Pope Gregory res- 
cued Home from the hands of his imperial opponent, 
Henry of Germany, only with the aid of the Saracen 

When, therefore, the influeiace of Muhammedanism 
began to assert itself throughout the south of Europe, 
it was natural that in a crude and stirring age, when 
strife was the dominant passion of the people, the idea 
of a holy war in the cause of faith was one in which 
Christian Europe was ready to take an example from 
the followers of Islam. The political, economical, and 
social state of affairs, the misery and suffering of the 
people, and even the hierarchy and the ascetic spirit of 
the time certainly made the minds of the people acces- 
sible to the idea of war; the spirit of unrest was per- 
vasive and the time was ripe, but the influence of Islam 


was a prominent factor in giving to it an entirely 
religious aspect. 

But even in the means employed to incite the Chris- 
tian warriors and the manner in which the Crusades were 
carried on, there is a great similarity between the Chris- 
tian and the Muhammedan procedure. The Church, 
when espousing the cause of the Crusader, did exactly 
what Muhammed had done when he preached a holy war. 
The Church addressed itself to the weaknesses and pas- 
sions of human nature. Fallen in battle, the Moslem, so 
he was told, would be admitted— be he victor or van- 
quished—to the joys of Paradise. The same prospect 
animated the Crusader and made him brave danger and 
die joyfully in defence of Christianity. " Let them kill 
the enemy or die. To submit to die for Christ, or to 
cause one of His enemies to die, is naught but glory," 
said Saint Bernard. Eloquently, vividly, and in glow- 
ing colours were the riches that awaited the warriors in 
the far East described: immense spoil would be taken 
from the unbelievers. Preachers did not even shrink 
from extolling the beauty of the women in the lands to 
be conquered. This fact recalls Muhammed's promise 
to his believers that they would meet the ever-beautiful 
dark-eyed houris in the life after death. To the material, 
sensual allurements, the Church added spiritual bless- 
ings and eternal rewards, guaranteed to those who took 
the red cross. During the Crusades the Christians did 
their utmost to copy the cruelties of the Moslems. That 
contempt for human life, that entire absence of mercy 
and the sense of pity which is familiar in all countries 


where Islam has gained sway is characteristic also of 
the Crusades. 

Although the narrative of the Crusades belongs rather 
to the history of Europe than of any one country, it is 
so closely intertwined with the history of Egypt at this 
period that some digression is necessary. About twenty 
years after the conquest of Jerusalem by the Turks, in 
1076, the Holy Sepulchre was visited by a hermit of the 
name of Peter, a native of Amiens, in the province of 
Picardy, France. His resentment and sympathy were 
excited by his own injuries and the oppression of the 
Christian name; he mingled his tears with those of the 
Patriarch, and earnestly inquired if no hope of relief from 
the Greek emperors of the East could be entertained. 
The Patriarch exposed the vices and weakness of the 
successors of Constantine. " I will rouse," exclaimed 
the hermit, " the martial nations of Europe in your 
cause; " and Europe was obedient to the call of the her- 
mit. The astonished Patriarch dismissed him with epis- 
tles of credit and complaint; alnd no sooner did he land 
at Bari than Peter hastened to kiss the feet of the Roman 
pontiff. Pope Urban II. received him as a prophet, ap- 
plauded his glorious design, promised to support it in 
a general council, and encouraged him to proclaim the 
deliverance of the Holy Land. Invigorated by the appro- 
bation of the pontiff, this zealous missionary traversed 
with speed and success the provinces of Italy and France. 
He preached to innumerable crowds in the churches, the 
streets, and the highways: the hermit entered with equal 
confidence the palace and the cottage; and the people 


of all classes were impetuously moved by his call to 
repentance and arms. 

The first Crusade was headed by Godefroy de Bouil- 
lon, Duke of Lower Lorraine; Baldwin, his brother; 
Hugo the Great, brother of the King of France; Robert, 
Duke of Normandy, son of William the Conqueror; Ray- 
mond of St. Gilles, Duke of Toulouse; and Bohemond, 
Prince of Tarentum. Towards the end of 1097 a. d. the 
invading force invested Antioch, and, after a siege of 
nine months, took it by storm. Edessa was also captured 
by the Crusaders, and in the middle of the summer of 
1098 they reached Jerusalem, then in the hands of the 

El-Mustali b'lllah Abu'l Kasim, son of Mustanssir, 
was then on the throne, but he was only a nominal ruler, 
for El-Afdhal, a son of El-Gemali, had the chief voice 
in the affairs of the kingdom. It was the army of Kasim 
that had captured Jerusalem. The city was besieged by 
the Crusaders, and it surrendered to them after forty 
days. Twice did new expeditions arrive from Egypt and 
attempt to retake the city, but with disastrous results, 
and further expeditions were impossible for some time, 
owing to the internal disorders in Egypt. Mustali died 
after a reign of about four years; and some historians 
record, as a truly remarkable circumstance, that he was 
a Sunnite by creed, although he represented a Shiite 

The next ruler, El- Amir, was the five-year-old son 
of Mustali, and El-Afdhal conducted the government 
until he became of age to govern. His first act was to put 


El-Afdhal to death. Under El- Amir the internal con- 
dition of Egypt continued unsatisfactory, and the Cru- 
saders, who had been very successful in capturing the 
towns of Syria, were only deterred from an advance on 
Egypt by the death of their leader, Baldwin. In a. h. 
524, some of the surviving partisans of El-Afdhal, it is 
said, put El- Amir to death, and a son of El-Afdhal as- 
sumed the direction of affairs, and appointed El-Hafiz, 
a grandson of Mustanssir as caliph. Afdhal's son, whose 
name was Abu Ali Ahmed, perished in a popular tumult. 
The new caliph had great trouble with his next three 
viziers, and at length abolished the office altogether. 
After reigning twenty years, he was succeeded by his 
licentious son, Dhafir, whose faults led to his death at 
the hand of his vizier, El- Abbas. 

For the ensuing six years the supreme power in Egypt 
was mainly the bone of contention between rival viziers, 
although El-Faiz, a boy of five, was nominally elected 
caliph on the death of Dhafir. El- Abbas was worsted 
by his rival, Tatae, and fled t6 Syria with a large sum 
of money; but he fell into the hands of the Crusaders, 
was returned to Tatae, and crucified. 

The last of the Patimite caliphs, El-Adid, in 555 a. d., 
was raised to the throne by Tatae, but his power was 
merely the shadow of sovereignty. Tatae 's tyranny, 
however, became so odious that the caliph had him assas- 
sinated a year after his accession, but he concealed the 
fact that he had instigated the murder. The caliph ap- 
pointed Tatae 's son, El-Adil, as vizier in his stead. The 
governorship of Upper Egypt was at this time in the 



hands of the celebrated Shawir, whom El-Adil dispos- 
sessed, but in a test of battle, El-Adil was defeated and 
put to death. In his turn, Shawir yielded to the more 
powerful Ed-Durghan, and fled to Damascus. There he 
enlisted the aid of the Atabeg Sultan Nur ed-Din, who 


sent his army against Ed-Durghan, with the result that 
Shawir was reinstated in power in Egypt. He thereupon 
threw off his promised allegiance to Nur ed-Din, whose 
general, Shirkuh (who had led the Damascenes to 
Egypt), took up a strategic position. Shawir appealed 


for aid to the Crusaders, and with the help of Amaury, 
King of Jerusalem, Shawir besieged his friend Shirkuh. 
Nur ed-Din was successfully attacking the Crusaders else- 
where, and in the end a peace was negotiated, and the 
Damascenes left Egypt. 

Two years later, Nur ed-Din formulated a plan to pun- 
ish the rebellious Shawir. Persecuted by Shirkuh, Nur 
ed-Din sent him with his army into Egypt. The Pranks 
now joined with Shawir to defend the country, hoping 
thereby to baffle the schemes of Nur ed-Din. The Chris- 
tian army was amazed at all the splendour of the caliph's 
palace at Cairo. Shawir retreated to entice the invaders 
on, who, advancing beyond their base, were soon reduced 
to straits. Shirkuh then tried to come to terms with 
Shawir against the Christians as a common foe, but with- 
out success. He next thought of retreating, without 
fighting, with all his Egyptian plunder. Persuaded at 
length to fight, he defeated the Franks and finally came 
to terms with Shawir, whereby the Franco-Egyptian alii- 
ance came to an end, and he then left Egypt on receiving 
an indemnity, Shawir still remaining its ruler. 

The peace, however, did not last long, and Nur ed-Din 
sent Shirkuh again with many Frankish free-lancers 
against the ill-fated country. On the approach of the 
army towards Cairo, the vizier set fire to the ancient city 
of Fostat, to prevent it from falling into the hands of 
the invaders, and it burned continually for fifty days. 
El-Adid now sought aid of Nur ed-Din, who, actuated by 
zeal against the Franks, and by desire of conquest, once 
more despatched Shirkuh. In the meantime negotiations 



had been opened with Amaury to raise the siege of Cairo 
on payment of an enormous sum of money. But, before 
these conditions had been fulfilled, the approach of the 


Syrian army induced Amaury to retreat in haste. Shir- 
kuh and Saladin entered the capital in great state, and 
were received with honour by the caliph, and with obse- 
quiousness by Shawir, who was contriving a plot which 


was fortunately discovered, and for which he paid with 
his life. Shirkuh was then appointed vizier by El-Adid, 
but, dying very shortly, he was succeeded in that dignity 
by his nephew Saladin (a. d. 1169). 

Saladin inaugurated his reign with a series of brilliant 
successes. Egypt once again took an important place 
among the nations, and by the wars of Saladin it became 
the nucleus of a great empire. Military glory was never 
the sole aim of Saladin and his successors. They con- 
tinued to extend to letters and the arts their willing 
patronage, and the beneficial effects of this were felt 
upon the civilisation of the country. Though ruler of 
Egypt, Saladin gained his greatest renown by his cam- 
paigns against the Crusaders in Syria. The inability of 
Nur ed-Din's son, El-Malik es-Salih Ismail, to govern the 
Syrian dominions became an excuse for Saladin 's occu- 
pation of Syria as guardian of the young prince, and, 
once having assumed this function, he remained in fact 
the master of Syria. He continued to consolidate his 
power in these parts until the Crusaders, under Philip, 
Count of Flanders, laid siege to Antioch. Saladin 
now went out to meet them with the Egyptian army, 
and fought the fierce battle of Ascalon, which proved 
to be disastrous to himself, his army being totally de- 
feated and his life endangered. After this, however, he 
was fortunate enough to gain certain minor advantages, 
and continued to hold his own until a famine broke out in 
Palestine which compelled him to come to terms with the 
Crusaders, and two years later a truce was concluded with 
the King of Jerusalem, and Saladin returned to Egypt. 


In the year 576 a. h., he again entered Syria and made 
war on Kilidj-Arslan, the Seljukide Sultan of Anatolia, 
and on Leon, King of Armenia, both of whom he forced 
to come to terms. Soon after his return, Saladin 
again left Egypt to prosecute a war with the Crusaders, 
since it was plain that neither side was desirous of re- 
maining at peace. Through an incident which had just 
occurred, the wrath of the Crusaders had been kindled. 
A vessel bearing fifteen hundred pilgrims had been 
wrecked near Damietta, and its passengers captured. 
When the King of Jerusalem remonstrated, Saladin 
replied by complaining of the constant inroads made by 
Renaud de Chatillon. This restless warrior undertook 
an expedition against Eyleh, and for this purpose con- 
structed boats at Kerak and conveyed them on camels 
to the sea. But this flotilla was repulsed, and the siege 
was raised by a fleet sent thither by El-Adil, the brother 
of Saladin, and his viceroy. A second expedition against 
Eyleh was still more unfortunate to the Franks, who 
were defeated and taken prisoners. On this occasion 
the captives were slain in the valley of Mina. Saladin 
then threatened Kerak, encamped at Tiberias, and 
ravaged the territory of the Franks. He next made a 
futile attempt to take Beirut. He was more successful 
in a campaign against Mesopotamia, which he reduced 
to submission, with the exception of Mosul. While ab- 
sent here, the Crusaders did little except undertake sev- 
eral forays, and Saladin at length returned towards 
Palestine, winning many victories and conquering 
Aleppo on the way. He next ravaged Samaria, and at 


last received the fealty of the lord of Mosul, though he 
did not succeed in actually conquering the city. 

In the year 1186 war broke out again between Sal- 
adin and the Christian hosts. The sultan had respected 
a truce which he had made with Baldwin the Leper, King 
of Jerusalem, but the restless Renaud, who had previ- 
ously attacked Eyleh, had broken through its stipula- 
tions. His plunder of a rich caravan enraged Saladin, 
who forthwith sent out orders to all his vassals and 
lieutenants to prepare for a Holy War. In the year 
1187 he marched from Damascus to Kerak, where he 
laid close siege to Renaud. At the same time a large 
body of cavalry was sent on towards Nazareth under his 
son El-Afdhal. They were met by 730 Knights Hospital- 
lers and Templars, aided by a few hundred foot-soldiers. 
Inspired by the heroic Jacques de Maille, marshal of 
the Temple, they defied the large Saracen army. In the 
conflict which ensued, the Crusaders immortalised them- 
selves by fighting until only three of their number were 
left alive, who, after the conflict was over, managed to 

Soon after this, Saladin himself approached with 
a great army of eighty thousand men, and the Chris- 
tians with all their forces hastened to meet him upon 
the shores of Lake Tiberias. The result of this battle 
proved to be the most disastrous defeat which the Chris- 
tians had yet suffered. They were weakened by thirst, 
and on the second day of the conflict a part of their 
troops fled. But the knights nevertheless continued to 
make a heroic defence until they were overwhelmed by 



numbers and forced to flee to the hills of Hittun. A great 
number of Crusaders fell in this conflict, and Guy de 
Lusignan, King of Jerusalem, and his brother, Renaud 
de Chatillon, were among the prisoners of war. The 
number of those taken was very great, and Saladin 
left an indelible stain upon a reign otherwise re- 


nowned for mercy and humanity by allowing the pris- 
oners to be massacred. Tiberias, Acre, Nabulus, Jericho, 
Ramleh, Caesarea, Arsur, Jaffa, Beirut, and many other 
places now fell into the hands of the conqueror. Tyre 
successfully resisted Saladin 's attacks. Ascalon sur- 
rendered on favourable conditions, and, to crown all, 


Jerusalem itself fell a prey to his irresistible arms. The 
great clemency of Saladin is chronicled on this occa- 
sion by Christian historians, but the same was an offence 
to many of the Moslems and is but little referred to 
by their historians. 

Tyre was now again besieged and was on the point 
of capture when the besieged were relieved by the ar- 
rival of Conrad, son of the Marquis of Monferrat. The 
defence was now fought with such vigour that Saladin 
abandoned it and made an attack upon Tripoli, but 
with no better success, although he succeeded in forc- 
ing Bohemond, Prince of Antioch, and ruler of Tripoli, 
to submit on terms favourable to himself. After this, 
Saladin took part in the defence of the ever-mem- 
orable siege of Acre, which called forth deeds of gallantry 
and heroism on both sides, and which lasted for two 
years, during which it roused the interest of the whole 
of the Christian world. The invading army were in time 
reinforced by the redoubtable Richard Coeur de Lion, 
King of England, and Philip II. of France, and, breaking 
down all opposition, they captured the city, and floated 
upon its walls the banners of the cross in the year 
1191 a. d. Unfortunately for the good name of the 
Christians, an act of ferocious barbarity marred the lus- 
tre of their triumph, for 2,700 Moslems were cut down 
in cold blood in consequence of the failure of Saladin 
to fulfil the terms of the capitulation ; and the palliative 
plea that the massacre was perpetrated in the heat of 
the assault can scarcely be urged in extenuation of this 
enormity. While many historians have laid the blame 


on King Richard, the historian Michaucl believes it rather 
to have been decided on in a council of the chiefs of the 

After a period of rest and debauchery, the army of 
the Crusaders, led on by King Richard, began to march 
towards Jerusalem. Saladin harassed his advance and 
rendered the strongholds on the way defenceless and 
ravaged the whole country. Richard was nevertheless 
ever victorious. His great personal bravery struck 
terror into the Moslems, and he won an important vic- 
tory over them at Arsur. Dissensions now broke out 
among chiefs of the Crusaders, and Richard himself 
proved to be a very uncertain leader in regard to the 
strategy of the campaign. So serious were these draw- 
backs that the ultimate aim of the enterprise was thereby 
frustrated, and the Crusaders never attained to their 
great object, which was the re-conquest of Jerusalem. 
At the time when the Christian armies were in posses- 
sion of all the cities along the coast, from Jaffa to Tyre, 
and the hosts of Saladin were seriously disorganised, 
a treaty was concluded and King Richard sailed back on 
the return journey to England. The glory acquired by 
Saladin, and the famous campaigns of Richard Coeur 
de Lion, have rendered the Third Crusade the most 
memorable in history, and the exploits of the heroes 
on both sides shed a lustre on the arms of both Moslems 
and Christians. 

Saladin died about a year after the conclusion of 
this peace, at Damascus, a. d. 1193, at the age of fifty- 
seven. With less rashness and bravery than Richard, 


Saladin possessed a firmer character and one far bet- 
ter calculated to carry on a religious war. He paid 
more attention to the results of his enterprises; more 
master of himself, he was more fit to command others. 
When mounting the throne of the Atabegs, Saladin 
obeyed rather his destiny than his inclinations; but, 
when once firmly seated, he was governed by only two 
passions,— that of reigning and that of securing the tri- 
umph of the Koran. On all other subjects he was mod- 
erate, and when a kingdom or the glory of the Prophet 
was not in question, the son of Ayyub was admired as 
the most just and mild of Muhammedans. The stern 
devotion and ardent fanaticism that made him take up 
arms against the Christians only rendered him cruel and 
barbarous in one single instance. He displayed the 
virtues of peace amidst the horrors of war. " From the 
bosom of the camps," says an Oriental poet, " he cov- 
ered the nations with the wings of his justice, and poured 
upon his cities the plenteous showers of his liberality." 
During his reign many remarkable public works were 
executed. The Muhammedans, always governed by fear, 
were astonished that a sovereign could inspire them with 
so much love, and followed him with joy to battle. His 
generosity, his clemency, and particularly his respect for 
an oath, were often the subjects of admiration to the 
Christians, whom he rendered so miserable bv his vie- 
tories, and of whose power in Asia he had completed 
the overthrow. Previous to his death, Saladin had 
divided the kingdom between his three sons; El-Afdhal 
received Damascus, Southern Svria, and Palestine, with 


the title of sultan; El- Aziz obtained the kingdom of 
Egypt, and Ez Zahir the princedom of Aleppo. 

El-Aziz undertook a campaign against Syria, but was 
defeated and obliged to retreat to Cairo on account of 
a mutiny among his troops. El-Afdhal pursued him, 
and had already pressed forward as far as Bilbeis, when 
El-Adil, who had hitherto espoused his cause, fearing 
that he might become too powerful, forced him to con- 
clude a peace. The only advantage he obtained was that 
he regained possession of Jerusalem and the southern 
part of Syria. Soon after, El-Adil prevailed upon his 
nephew Aziz, with whom he stood on friendly terms, 
to renew the war and to take Damascus; El-Afdhal was 
betrayed, and only Sarchod was left to him, whereas 
El-Adil occupied Damascus and forced Aziz to return 
to Egypt again (June, 1196). After Aziz's death, in 
November, 1198, El-Afdhal was summoned by some of 
the emirs to act as regent in Egypt. Others called upon 
El-Adil to adopt the same course. El-Afdhal, however, 
became master of Egypt, and besieged Damascus, rein- 
forced by his brother Zahir, who feared his uncle's ambi- 
tion no less than himself. The agreement between the 
brothers, however, did not last long; their armies sep- 
arated, and El-Afdhal was obliged to raise the siege and 
retreat to Egypt. He was pursued by his uncle, and 
forced, after several skirmishes, to surrender the capital 
and content himself once more with Sarchod and one or 
two towns on the Euphrates (February, 1200). El-Adil 
ruled for a short time in the name of El- Aziz's son; he 
soon came forward as sultan, forced Zahir to recognise 


him as his suzerain, and appointed his son El-Muzzain 
as governor of Damascus; the towns which belonged 
to him in Mesopotamia were distributed among his other 
sons, and he thus became, to a certain extent, the over- 
lord of all the lands conquered by Saladin. His son, 
El-Ashraf, later became lord of Chelat in Armenia, 
and his descendant, Masud, Kamil's son, obtained pos- 
session of happy Arabia; so that the name Malik Adil 
was pronounced in all the Moslem chancels from the 
borders of Georgia to the Gulf of Aden. 

El- Adil was so much engaged with wars against the 
Moslem princes,— the princes of Nissibis and Mardin,— 
and also with repulsing El-Afdhal, who wished to re- 
cover his lost kingdom, that he was unable to proceed 
with any force against the Crusaders ; he took unwilling 
measures against them when they actually broke the 
peace, and was always ready to conclude a new treaty. 
He took Jaffa by storm when the pilgrims, armed by 
Henry VI., came to Palestine and interfered with the 
Moslem devotions, and when the chancellor Conrad there- 
upon seized Sidon and Beirut, El- Adil contented himself 
with laying waste the former town and hindering the 
capture of the fortress Joron; Beirut he allowed to fall 
into the enemy's hands. Still later he permitted several 
attacks of the Christians— such as the devastation of the 
town Fuah, situated on the Eosetta arm of the Nile— 
to pass unnoticed, and even bought peace at the expense 
of the districts of Ramleh and Lydda, which had formerly 
belonged to him. It was not until the year 1206 that he 
acted upon the offensive against the regent, John o£ 



• i • " ' i 






















Ibelin, and even then he contented himself with slight 
advantages and concluded a new truce for thirty years. 

Shortly before his death, El-Adil, like his brother 
Saladin, narrowly escaped losing all his glory and the 
fruits of so many victories. Pope Honorius III. had 
successfully aroused the zeal of the Western nations for 
a new Crusade. Numerous well-armed and warlike- 
minded pilgrims— among whom were King Andreas of 
Hungary and Duke Leopold of Austria— landed at Acre 
in 1217, and King John of Jerusalem led them against 
the Moslems. El-Adil hastened from Egypt to the scene 
of action, but was forced to retreat to Damascus and to 
give up the whole of the southern district, with the ex- 
ception of the well-fortified holy town, to be plundered 
by the Christians. In the following spring, whilst El- 
Adil was in Syria, a Christian fleet sailed to Damietta, 
and besieged the town. The attacking forces were com- 
posed of Germans and Hungarians, who had embarked 
at Spalato on the Adriatic for St. Jean d'Acre, where 
they spent a year in unfortunate expeditions and quarrels 
with the Christians of Syria. They were joined by a 
fleet of three hundred boats furnished by North Germans 
and Frisians, who, leaving the banks of the Rhine, had 
journeyed there by way of the Straits of Gibraltar, pro- 
longing the journey by a year's fighting in Portugal. 

The Christians then in Palestine had persuaded the 
Crusaders to begin with an attack on Egypt, and they 
had therefore chosen to land at Damietta. This was a 
large commercial town to the east of one of the arms 
of the Nile, which was defended by three walls and a 


large tower built on an island in the middle of the Nile, 
from which started the chains that barred the river. 

The Frisian sailors constructed a castle of wood, 
which was placed between the masts of two ships, and 
from which the Crusaders were able to leap to the tower, 
and thus they were able to blockade and starve the town. 
The siege was long, and an epidemic breaking out among 
the besiegers carried off a sixth of their number. The 
sultan tried to succour the besieged by floating down 
the stream corpses of camels, which were stuffed with 
provisions, but the Christians captured them. He then 
offered to give the Crusaders, on condition they would 
depart, the True Cross and all he possessed of the king- 
dom of Jerusalem; but Pelagius, the papal legate,— a 
Spanish monk who had himself named commander-in- 
chief,— rejected the offer. 

El-Adil was so stunned by the news of the success 
of the Christians that he died a few days after (August, 
1218). El-Kamil, however, was not discouraged; he not 
only defended Damietta, but also harassed the enemy 
in their own camp by means of hordes of Bedouins. Not 
until he was forced, by a conspiracy of his troops in fa- 
vour of his brother El-Faiz, to fly to Cairo, did the Chris- 
tians succeed in getting across the Nile and completely 
surrounding Damietta. Order was soon restored in 
Egypt, owing to the arrival of Prince Muzzain, who had 
taken over the government of Damascus on the death of 
his father. The rebels were chastised, and both brothers 
proceeded towards Damietta: they could not succceed, 
however, in raising the siege, and the garrison dimin- 



ished daily through hunger, sickness, and constant at- 
tacks, and the fortress soon fell into the hands of the 
Crusaders, almost without a blow (November 5, 1219). 
The Crusaders pillaged the town, taking from it four 
hundred thousand gold pieces. The Italians also settled 
there, and made it the seat of their commerce with Egypt. 
This conquest caused excite- 
ment in Europe, and the 
Pope called Pelagius " the 
second Joshua." 

If the Pranks had been 
more at peace among them- 
selves, they might easily 
have pushed forward to 
Cairo after the fall of Dami- 
etta. But the greatest dis- 
content prevailed between 
the papal legate, Pelagius, 
and King John of Brienne, 
so that the latter soon after 
left Egypt, while Pelagius 
was forced to wait for rein- 
forcements before he could 
get away from Damietta. 
El-Kamil, meanwhile, reinforced his army with the help 
of the friendly Syrian princes, and, by destroying the 
channels and dams of the Nile canals, so endangered the 
Christian camp that they were soon forced to sue for 
peace, and offered to quit Damietta on the condition of 
an unmolested retreat. El-Kamil, equally anxious for 



peace, accepted these conditions (August, 1221). 
Scarcely had the Ayyubites thus warded off the threat- 
ening danger when they proceeded to fall out among 

After the death of El-Kamil, who in the end was 
generally regarded as overlord, a new war broke out, in 
March, 1238, between his son El-Adil II., who was reign- 
ing in Egypt, and his brother Ayyub, who occupied Da- 
mascus. Ayyub conquered Egypt, but, in his absence, 
his uncle Ismail, Prince of Balbek, seized upon Damas- 
cus and made a league with the Franks in Palestine and 
several of the Syrian princes. Through this unnatural 
league, Ismail, however, estranged not only the Moslem 
inhabitants of Syria, but also his own army. Part of 
the army deserted in consequence to Ayyub, who was 
thus enabled easily to subdue the allied army (1240). 
Another coalition was formed against him a few years 
later, and this time Da'ud of Kerak was one of the allies. 
Ayyub sent a strong army of Egyptians, negroes, and 
Mamluks under the future sultan, Beybars, to Syria. 
The Syrian troops fought unwillingly against their fel- 
low-believers in the opposite ranks, and the wild Ckariz- 
mites, who had also joined the ranks, inspired them w r ith 
terror, so that they deserted the field of battle in the 
neighbourhood of Gaza (October, 1244). The Christians, 
left to themselves, were not in a position to resist the 
enemy's attacks; and the Egyptians made themselves 
masters of Jerusalem and Hebron, and in the following 
year obtained Damascus, Balbek, Ascalon, and Tiberias. 
In 1248 Ayyub came again into Syria, in order to 


chastise El-Malik en-Nasir, Prince of Aleppo, who had 
seized upon Hemessa when he heard of the coming Cru- 
saders under Saint Louis. To this end he made peace 
with the natives of Aleppo, and returned to Jerusalem in 
order to make the necessary preparations for defence. 
The pilgrims, however, succeeded in landing, for Emir 
Pakhr ed-Din, the Egyptian commander, had taken to 
flight after a short skirmish, and the fortress was allowed 
to fall into the hands of the enemy (June, 1249). Ayyub 
now established a firm footing in the town of Cairo— 
which his father had founded— in a district intersected 
by canals, and harassed the Christian camp with his light 
cavalry. Louis was expecting reinforcements, but they 
did not arrive until the inundations of the Nile made any 
advance into the interior almost impossible. At last, 
on the 21st of December, the Christian army arrived at 
the canal of Ashmum Tanah, which alone separated them 
from the town of Mansuria. The Egyptians were now 
commanded by Emir Fakhr ed-Din. Ayyub had died a 
month before, but his wife, Shejret ed-Durr, kept his 
death a secret until his son Turan Shah should arrive 
from Mesopotamia. Pakhr ed-Dm did everything in his 
power to retrieve his former error. He attacked the 
Christians when they w r ere engaged in building a dam 
across the canal, hindering their work on the southern 
bank with his throwing-machines, destroying their tow- 
ers with Greek fire ; and when, in spite of all discourage- 
ments, their toilsome work was nearly finished, he ren- 
dered it useless by digging out a new basin, into which 
he conducted the water of the Ashmum canal. 


On the 8th of February, 1250, the French crossed the 
canal, but, instead of collecting there, as the king had 
commanded, so as to attack the enemy en masse, several 
troops pressed forward against the Egyptians, and many, 
including the Count of Artois, the king's brother, were 
killed by the valiant enemy under Bey bars. The battle 
remained long undecided, for the Egyptians had barri- 
caded Cairo so well that it could only be stormed at the 
cost of many lives, and after the capture the army needed 
rest. The Egyptians took advantage of this delay to 
bring a fleet up in the rear of the Egyptian ships, which, 
in combination with the fleet stationed near Mansuria, 
attacked and completely destroyed them. As soon as 
they were masters of the Nile, the Egyptians landed 
troops below the Christian camp, which was thus com- 
pletely cut off from Damietta, and soon suffered the 
greatest hardships from lack of provisions. Under these 
circumstances, Louis opened negotiations with Turan 
Shah, and when these proved fruitless, nothing remained 
for him but to return to Damietta. Although they began 
their retreat by night, they did not thus escape the vigi- 
lance of the Egyptians. The fugitives were overtaken 
on the following morning, and so shut in by the enemy 
that resistance was impossible. A large portion of the 
army was cut to pieces, in spite of their surrender; the 
rest, together with the king and his brother, were taken 
prisoners and brought in triumph to Cairo. Turan Shah 
treated the king with consideration and hastened to con- 
clude peace with the Bahritic Mamluks,— so called be- 
cause they had been brought up on the Nile (Bahr), on 


the island Rhodha,— as soon as the ransom money of his 
prisoners was assured. The Bahrites grumbled at this 
peace because it left the Christians in Palestine in pos- 
session of their towns, and they forthwith murdered 
Turan Shah, with the help of She j ret ed-Durr, whom he 
had maltreated (May 2, 1250). 

After Turan Shah's death, his mother was proclaimed 
sultana, and the Mamluk Aibek became general of the 
army. Later, when the caliph of Baghdad revolted 
against the rule of a woman, Aibek assumed the title 
of sultan and married Shejret ed-Durr. He ruled again 
after some time in the name of a young descendant of 
Kamil, so as to be able to fight against the Ayyubids in 
Syria, who, with En-Nasir at their head, had taken pos- 
session of Damascus, with an appearance of right. A 
battle took place between Aibek and the Syrians (Feb- 
ruary, 1251), which was decided in favour of Aibek in 
consequence of the treachery of the Turks under Nasir. 
Aibek again assumed the title of sultan after the vic- 
tory, but was soon after to be murdered by the Mamluks, 
who were unwilling to be subject to any control. He 
anticipated their plot, however, and slew their leader, 
the Emir Aktai, putting his followers to flight. He then 
demanded the diploma of investiture and the insignia 
of his office from the caliph, and also pressed the Prince 
of Mosul to grant him his daughter in marriage. His 
own wife, unable to endure such perfidy, had him mur- 
dered in his bath (April 10, 1257). 

When Beybars first ascended the throne, he assumed 
the name of Sultan Kahir (the over-ruler), but after- 


wards, when he was informed that this name had always 
brought misfortune to its bearer, he changed it to that 
of Sultan Zahir (the Glorious). Now that he was abso- 
lute master of Syria and Egypt, Beybars tried to ob- 
literate the remembrance of the misdeeds he had formerly 
been guilty of by means of undertakings for the general 
good and for the furtherance of religion. He had the 
mosques repaired, founded pious institutions, designed 
new aqueducts, fortified Alexandria, had all the for- 
tresses repaired and provisioned which the Mongols had 
razed to the ground, had a large number of great and 
small war-ships built, and established a regular post 
between Cairo and Damascus. In order to obtain a sem- 
blance of legitimacy, since he was but a usurper, Beybars 
recognised a nominal descendant of the house of Abbas 
as caliph, who, in the proper course of things, ought to 
invest him with the dominions of Syria and Egypt. Bey- 
bars bade his governors receive this descendant of the 
house of the Prophet with all suitable marks of honour, 
and invited him to come to Egypt. When he approached 
the capital, the sultan himself went out to meet him, 
followed by the vizier, the chief cadi, and the chief emirs 
and notabilities of the town. Even the Jews and Chris- 
tians had to take part in the procession, carrying respect- 
ively the Tora and the Gospel. The caliph made his 
entrance into Cairo with the greatest pomp, rode through 
the town amidst the shouts of the multitude, and pro- 
ceeded to the citadel, where Beybars had appointed him 
a magnificent dwelling. Some days afterwards the caliph 
had a reception of the chief cadi, the most celebrated 


theologians and lawyers of Egypt, and many notables 
of the capital. The Arabs who formed his escort and 
an eunuch from Baghdad testified to the identity of the 
caliph's person, the chief cadi recognised their assertion 
as valid, and was the first to do homage to him as caliph. 
Thereupon the sultan arose, took the oath of allegiance 
to him and swore to uphold both the written laws of the 
Koran and those of tradition; to advance the good and 
hinder the evil, to fight zealously for the protection of 
the faith only, to impose lawful taxes, and to apply the 
taxes only to lawful purposes. After the sultan had 
finished, homage was done by the sheiks, the emirs, and 
the other chief officers of the kingdom. The caliph in- 
vested the sultan with power over all the kingdoms sub- 
ject to Islam, as well as over all future conquests, where- 
upon the people of all classes were admitted to do homage 
likewise. Then command was sent out to all the distant 
princes and governors to do homage to the caliph, who 
has assumed the name of El-Mustanssir, and to place his 
name beside that of the sultan in their prayers and also 
on their coins. 

Beybars' treatment of his viziers, governors, and other 
important emirs, one or other of whom he either impris- 
oned or executed on every possible occasion, was merci- 
less, but he proceeded even more shamelessly against 
Malik Mughith, Prince of Kerak and Shaubek, whom 
he feared so much as one of the bravest descendants of 
the house of Ayyub that he stamped himself publicly as 
a perjured assassin, in order to get him out of the way. 
Beybars had at first, without any declaration of war, 


in fact, without any notification of it in Egypt, sud- 
denly sent a detachment of troops under the leadership 
of Emir Bedr ed-Din Aidimri, which took the fortress 
Shaubek by surprise, and placed the Emir Saif ed-Din 
Bilban el-Mukhtasi in it as governor. In the next year, 
in order to win over Mughith, he liberated his son Aziz, 
whom Kotuz had captured at Damascus and imprisoned 
at Cairo; he also assured Mughith of his friendly inten- 
tions towards him and repeatedly urged him to arrange 
a meeting. El-Malik el-Mughith did not trust Beybars, 
and invented all kinds of reasons not to accept his invita- 
tions. Beybars resolved at last to calm the fears of his 
intended victim by means of a written oath. The fears 
of Mughith, however, were not allayed, and he hesitated 
to fall in with the wish of the sultan and to appear at 
his court. The following year, when the sultan came to 
Syria and again urged a meeting, he was at a loss for 
an excuse, and was forced either to acknowledge his mis- 
trust or risk everything. He sent his mother first to 
Gaza, where she was received with the greatest friend- 
liness by the sultan, and sent back laden with costly 
presents; on her return to Kerak, corrupted by the hos- 
pitality and generosity of the sultan, she persuaded her 
son to wait on him, as did also his ambassador Alamjad 
with equal zeal. Finally he set out from Kerak— when 
he had made his troops do homage to his son El-Malik 
el- Aziz— on a visit to the sultan, who was then in Tur. 
The sultan rode out to meet him as far as Beisan. Malik 
Mughith wished to dismount when he perceived the sul- 
tan, but he would not permit this, and rode beside 


Mughith till he reached his own tent. Here he was sepa- 
rated from his followers, thrown into chains, and brought 
into the citadel of Cairo (a. h. 660). In order to palliate 
this crime, the sultan made public the correspondence of 
the Prince of Kerak with the Mongols, which it was 
thought would stamp the former as a traitor to Islam. 
The judges whom he brought with him, and amongst 
whom we find the celebrated historian Ibn Khallikan, who 
was then chief judge of Damascus, declared him guilty, 
but we only have historical proof of the sending of his son 
into Hulagu's camp to beg that his province might be 
spared, at a time when all the princes of Syria, seized with 
panic, threw themselves at the feet of the Mongolian gen- 
eral. Be that as it may, he none the less committed a piece 
of treachery, since he had sworn not to call him to account 
for his former crimes. Beybars hoped, now that he had 
disposed of Malik Mughith, that the fortress Kerak 
would immediately surrender to his emissary, Emir Bedr 
ed-Din Beisari, but the governor of the fortress feared 
to trust the promises of a perjurer and offered resistance. 
Beybars therefore set out for Syria with all the necessary 
siege apparatus, constructed by the best engineers of 
Egypt and Syria. The garrison saw the impossibility 
of a long resistance and capitulated. 

The son of Malik Mughith, El-Malik el- Aziz, a boy 
of twelve, was honoured as prince and taken to Egypt, 
as also Mughith 's family. His emirs and officials were 
treated with consideration, but the prince was later 
thrown into prison. Nothing certain is known with re- 
gard to the death of Mughith. According to some 


reports, because he offended the wife of Beybars, when 
as a wandering Mamluk he once was staying with him, 
he was delivered over to the sultan's wives and was put 
to death by them; another account says that he died 
of hunger in prison. 

After the conquest of Shekif, the sultan made an 
attack on the province of Tripoli because Prince Boh- 
mond, Governor of Antioch and Tripoli, was his bitterest 
enemy and the truest ally of the Mongolians, and had, 
moreover, at the time of Hulagu's attack on Syria, made 
himself master of several places which till then had be- 
longed to the Mussulmans. The whole land was wasted, 
all the houses destroyed, all Christians who fell into the 
hands of the troops were murdered, and several strong- 
holds in the mountains conquered. Laden with rich 
booty, the Moslem army set out for Hemessa. From here 
Beybars proceeded towards Hamah and divided the army 
into three divisions; one division, under the Emir Bedr 
ed-Din Khaznadar (treasurer), was to take the direction 
of Suwaidiya, the port of Antioch; the second, under 
Emir Izz ed-Din Ighan, struck the route towards Der- 
besak; the third, which he led himself, proceeded in a 
straight line over Apamaa and Schoghr towards Antioch, 
which was the meeting-place for the two other emirs, 
and would so be shut in from the north, the west, and 
the south. On the 16th May the sultan found himself 
in front of the town, which contained a population of 
over one hundred thousand. Fighting soon ensued be- 
tween the outposts of the sultan and the constable who 
advanced against him at the head of the militia. The 


latter was defeated, and the constable himself taken pris- 
oner. On the 3d of Ramadhan the whole army had 
united and preparations were made for the siege. Mean- 
while the sultan had already attempted to persuade the 
imprisoned constable to return to the town and enduce 
them to surrender, and to leave his own son behind as 
a hostage. But when several days had passed in fruitless 
discussions, at last the sultan gave the word for the at- 
tack. In spite of the resistance of the Christians, the 
walls were scaled on the same day, and the garrison 
retired thereupon into the citadel; the inhabitants were 
massacred or taken prisoner and all the houses plun- 
dered. No one could escape, for Beybars had blocked 
all the entrances. On the next day the garrison, women 
and children included, which numbered eight thousand, 
surrendered on account of lack of water and meal. The 
chiefs apparently made their escape during the confusion 
and fled into the mountains. The garrison only saved 
their lives by surrendering. Beybars had them chained 
and distributed as slaves amongst his troops; he then 
had the other prisoners and the rest of the booty brought 
together, and proceeded with the lawful distribution. 
When everything had been settled, the citadel was set 
on fire, but the conflagration was so great that the whole 
town was consumed. 

Beybars died soon after his return from Asia Minor 
(July 1, 1277). According to some reports his death 
was occasioned by a violent fever; other accounts say 
that he died in consequence of a poison which he had 
prepared for an Ayyubid and which he accidentally took 


himself. He had designated the eldest of his sons as 
his successor, under the name of El-Malik es-Said, and 
in order to give him a strong support he had married 
him to the daughter of the Emir Kilawun, one of his 
best and most influential generals. In spite of all this, 
however, es-Said was not able to maintain himself on the 
throne for any length of time. 

Kilawun conspired against his master, and was soon 
able to ascend the throne under the title of El-Malik 
el-Mansur. His fame as a warrior was already estab- 
lished, and he added to his successes during his ten years' 
reign. His first task was to quell disturbances in Syria, 
and he despatched an army thither and captured Da- 
mascus. In the year 680 of the Hegira he took the field 
in person against a large force of Tatars, defeated them, 
and raised the siege of Rahabah. Eight years later he 
laid siege to Tripoli, then rich and flourishing after two 
centuries of Christian occupation, and the town was 
taken and its inhabitants killed. Other expeditions were 
undertaken against Nubia, but the Nubians, after they 
had been twice defeated, appear to have re-established 

The fortress of Acre was at this time the only im- 
portant stronghold still retained by the Christians, and 
for its conquest Kilawun was making preparations when 
he died, on the 10th of November, 1290. Kilawun, says 
the modern historian Weil, has been unduly praised by 
historians, most of whom lived in the reign of his son. 
He was certainly not so bloodthirsty as Beybars, and 
he also oppressed his subjects less. He, too, cared more 




for the increase and establishment of his kingdom than 
for justice and good faith. He held no agreement sacred, 
if he could get any advantage by breaking it, as was 
shown by his behaviour towards the Crusaders and the 
descendants of Beybars. The most beautiful monument 
which he left behind him w r as a huge building outside 
Cairo, which included a hospital, a school, and his own 
tomb. The hospital was so large that every disease had 
a special room allotted to it; there were also apartments 
for women, and large storerooms for provisions and med- 
ical requirements, and a large auditorium in which the 
head doctor delivered his lectures on medicine. The 
expenses were so great— for even people of wealth were 
taken without compensation— that special administra- 
tors were appointed to oversee and keep an account of the 
necessary outlay. Besides these officers, several stewards 
and overseers were appointed to control the revenues 
devoted to the hospital by different institutions. Under 
the dome of the tomb the Koran and traditional charters 
were taught, and both teachers and scholars received 
their payment from the state. A large adjacent hall 
contained a library of many works on the Koran, tradi- 
tion, language, medicine, practical theology, jurispru- 
dence, and literature, and was kept in good condition by 
a special librarian and six officials. The school building 
contained four audience-halls for the teachers of the 
Islamite schools, and in addition to these a school for 
children, into which sixty poor orphans were received 
without any charge and provided with board, lodging, 
and clothes. 


Khalil, the son of Kilawun, who succeeded him, with 
the title of El-Malik el-Ashraf , was able to begin opera- 
tions in the spring of 1291 against Acre, and on the 18th 
of May, after an obstinate resistance, the town was taken 
by storm. Those who could not escape by water were 
either cut down or taken prisoner; the town was plun- 
dered, then burnt, and the fortifications razed to the 
ground. After the fall of Acre, towns such as Tyre, 
Sidon, Beirut, and others, which were still in the hands 
of the Christians, offered no resistance, and were either 
deserted by their inhabitants or given up to the enemy. 
El-Ashraf, now that he had cleared Syria of the Cru- 
saders, turned his arms against the Mongols and their 
vassals. He began with the storming of Kalat er-rum, 
a fortress on the Upper Euphrates in the neighbourhood 
of Bireh, the possession of which was important both 
for the defence of Northern Syria and for attacks on 
Armenia and Asia Minor. In spite of many pompous 
declarations that this was only the beginning of greater 
conquests in Asia Minor and Irak, he retired as soon as 
the Hkhan Kaikhatu sent a strong detachment of troops 
against him. Later on he threatened the Prince of Ar- 
menia-Minor with war, and obliged him to hand over 
certain border towns. He also exchanged some threat- 
ening letters with Kaikhatu. But neither reigned long 
enough to make these threats good, for Kaikhatu was 
soon after dethroned by Baidu, and Baidu in his turn by 
Gazan (1295), after many civil wars which had contin- 
ually hindered him from carrying on a foreign war. El- 
Ashraf was murdered in 1294, whilst hunting, by the 



regent Baidara, whom he had threatended to turn out 
of his office. Kara Sonkor, Lajin, El-Mansuri, and some 
of the other emirs had conspired with Baidara in the 


hope that, when once the deed was accomplished, all the 
chiefs in the kingdom would applaud their action, since 
El-Ashraf had slain and imprisoned many influential 


emirs, and was generally denounced as an irreligious 
man, who transgressed not only against the laws of Islam, 
but also against those of nature. Baidara, however, 
immediately proceeded to mount the throne, and a strong 
party, with the Emir Ketboga at its head, was formed 
against him. Ketboga called upon El-Ashraf 's Mamluks 
to take vengeance, pursued the rebels, and killed Baidara. 
He then returned to Cairo, and, after long negotiations 
with the governor of the capital, Muhammed, a younger 
brother of El-Ashraf, was proclaimed sultan, with the 
title of El-Malik en-Nasir. 

Muhammed en-Nasir occupies such an important 
place in the history of these times that the other Moslem 
princes may easily be grouped around him. He was only 
nine years old when he was summoned to be ruler of the 
kingdom of the Mamluks. Naturally he was the sultan 
only in name, and the real power lay in the hands of 
Ketboga and Vizier Shujai. These two lived in perfect 
harmony so long as they were merely occupied with the 
pursuit of their rivals,— not only the friends and follow- 
ers of El-Ashraf 's murderer, but also the innocent ex- 
vizier of El-Ashraf, because he had treated them with 
contempt and was in possession of riches for which they 
were greedy. He shared the fate of the king's assassins, 
for, in spite of the intercession of the ladies of the royal 
harem, he ended his life on the gallows. But as soon 
as the two rulers had got rid of their enemies and ap- 
peased their own avarice, their peaceful union was at 
an end, for each wished to have complete control over 
the sultan. Shujai had the Mamluks of the late sultan 


on his side; while Ketboga, who was a Mongol by birth, 
had with him all the Mongols and Kurds who had settled 
in the kingdom during Beybars' reign. A Mongol 
warned Ketboga against Shujai, who had made all neces- 
sary preparations to throw his rival into prison, and he 
immediately was attacked by Ketboga and defeated after 
several attempts. 

Ketboga 's ambition was not yet fulfilled, although he 
was now supreme ruler. He first demanded homage as 
regent; as he met with no opposition, he conceived the 
idea of setting the sultan, Nasir, aside; and he hoped 
to carry out his plan with the assistance of Lajin and 
Kara Sonkor, El-Ashraf 's murderers, and their numerous 
following. He had the pardon of these two emirs pro- 
claimed, whereupon they left their hiding-places and 
joined Ketboga, for it was to their interest also that the 
sultan should be put out of the way. This coup d'etat 
was a complete success (December, 1294), but in spite 
of these plans, Ketboga 's reign was both unfortunate 
and brief. The old emirs were vexed with him because 
he raised his own Mamluks to the highest posts of hon- 
our, and the clergy were displeased because he received 
favourably a number of Mongols, although they were 
heathens. The people blamed him for the severe famine 
which visited Egypt and Syria and which was followed 
by a terrible pestilence. Several emirs, with Lajin again 
at their head, conspired against him, and forced their 
way into his tent while he was on the way to Syria; 
overpowering the guard, they attempted to get posses- 
sion of his person. He managed to escape, however, and 


so saved his life and liberty, but Lajin obtained posses- 
sion of the throne, with the agreement of the other emirs. 
In spite of his advantages, both as man and as pious 
Moslem, and in spite of his brilliant victories over the 
princes of Armenia, Lajin was murdered, together with 
his successor, and Nasir, who was then living in Kerak, 
was recalled as sultan (January, 1299). 

Nasir was still too young to reign alone; he had to 
let himself be ruled by the emirs who had already as- 
sumed a kind of regency before his return. At the head 
of these emirs stood Sellar and Beybars Jashingir. Dis- 
trust and uneasiness existed between these two, one of 
whom was regent and the other prefect of the palace, for 
each wanted to assume the chief power; but soon their 
private intrigues were put into the background by a 
common danger. The Ilkhan Gazan was actively pre- 
paring for war against the Mamluk kingdom because the 
Governor of Aleppo had fallen upon Mardin, a town be- 
longing to the Mongols, and brutally maltreated the 
inhabitants; also because the refugees from Egypt and 
Syria assured him that the moment was favourable for 
extending his dominion over these lands. 

The internal history of Egypt at this period offers 
nothing but tedious strifes between different emirs, and 
specially between the two most powerful, Beybars and 
Sellar, who would have often brought it to open warfare 
had not their friends and followers intervened. They 
agreed, however, on one point, namely, to keep the sultan 
as long as possible from taking over the reins of govern- 
ment, and to keep him as secluded as possible in order 


to deprive him of all influence. Whilst Sellar was wast- 
ing immense sums, the sultan was in fact almost starving. 
When Sellar went on a pilgrimage to Mecca, he paid the 
debts of all the Moslems who had retired to this town; 
he further distributed ten thousand malters of fruit 
amongst the poor people in the to\^n, and so much money 
and provisions that they were able to live on it for a 
whole year. He also treated the inhabitants of Medina 
and Jiddah in an equally generous way. The sultan, who 
was hunting in Lower Egypt, at the same time tried in 
vain to obtain a small loan from the Alexandrian mer- 
chants, to buy a present for his wife. Finally, his vizier, 
who had granted him two thousand dinars ($5,060), was 
accused on Sellar 's return of embezzling the public 
money, was led round the town on a donkey, and beaten 
and tortured so long that he succumbed under his tor- 

In the year 1307, when Nasir was twenty-three years 
old, though still treated as a child, he attempted, with 
the help of the Emir Bektimur, who commanded the 
Mamluks in the palace, to seize the persons of his op- 
pressors. The plan failed, for they had their spies every- 
where, and the only result was that the sultan's faithful 
servants were banished to Syria, and the sultan himself 
was more oppressed than ever. It was two years before 
he succeeded in deceiving his tyrants. He expressed the 
wish to make a pilgrimage to Mecca; this was granted, 
as the emirs saw nothing dangerous in it, and, moreover, 
as a religious duty, it could not be resisted. As soon as 
he reached the fortress Kerak, with the help of those 


soldiers in his escort who were devoted to his cause, 
and having deceived the governor by means of false let- 
ters, he obtained possession of the fortress, and immedi- 
ately declared his independence of the guardianship of 
Sellar and Beybars. Sellar and Beybars, on hearing this, 
immediately summoned the sultan to return to Cairo; 
but, even before they received his answer, they realised 
that their rule was over, and that either they must quit 
the field, or Nasir must be dethroned. After long con- 
sideration amongst themselves, they proceeded to the 
choice of another sultan, and the choice fell on Beybars 
(April, 1309). Beybars accepted the proffered throne 
on the condition that Sellar also retained his place. He 
confirmed the other emirs also in their offices, hoping 
thereby to gain their support. 

The change of government met with no resistance 
in Egypt, where the majority of the emirs had long been 
dependent on Beybars and Sellar. In Syria, on the other 
hand, the emirs acting as governors refused to acknowl- 
edge Beybars, partly from devotion to Nasir 's race, and 
partly because the choice had been made without their 
consent. Only Akush, Governor of Damascus, who was 
an old friend of Beybars, and like him a Circassian, took 
the oath of allegiance. The governors of Aleppo, Hamah, 
and Tripoli, together with the governors of Safed and 
Jerusalem, called upon Nasir to join them, and, with the 
help of his other followers, to reconquer Egypt. The 
cunning sultan, who saw that the time for open resist- 
ance had not yet arrived, since Egypt was as yet too 
unanimous, and Damascus also had joined the enemy, 




advised them to deceive Beybars and to take the oath 
of allegiance, which they could break later, as having 
been obtained by force. He himself feigned to submit 
to the new government, and even had the prayers carried 
on from the chancel in Beybars' name. Beybars was 
deceived, although he knew with certainty that Nasir 
carried on a lively intercourse with the discontented 
emirs. He relied chiefly on Akush, who kept a strict 
watch over Nasir 's movements. The spies of Akush, 
however, were open to corruption, and they failed later 
to take steps to render Nasir harmless at the right mo- 
ment. Beybars believed Nasir to be still in Kerak, when 
he was well on the way to Damascus ; and when he finally 
received news of this, the rebellion had already gone so 
far that some of the troops who had been sent out against 
the sultan had already deserted to his side. The only 
possible way of allaying the storm was for Beybars to 
put himself at the head of his troops, and, joining forces 
with Akush, to offer battle to Nasir. The necessary cour- 
age and resolution failed him. Instead of having re- 
course to the sword, he applied to the caliph, who de- 
clared Nasir an exile, and summoned all believers to 
listen to the Sultan Beybars— whom he had consecrated 
—and to take part in the war against the rebel, Nasir. 
But the summons of the caliph, which was read in all 
the chancels, had not the slightest effect. The belief 
in the caliph had long disappeared, except in so far as 
he was considered a tool of the sultan on whom he 
depended. Even Beybars' party mocked the caliph's 
declaration, and wherever it was read manifestations 


were made in favour of the exile. Beybars, also, was 
now deserted by Sellar, and lie at length was obliged to 
resign. Beybars was then seized and throttled by Nasir, 
and Sellar was starved to death. 

Nasir, who now came to the throne, had grown sus- 
picions and treacherous on account of the many hard- 
ships and betrayals endured by him during his youth. 
He was, however, favourable to the Christians, and to 
such an extent that he received anonymous letters re- 
proaching him for allowing Moslems to be oppressed by 
Christian officials. He found them to be experienced in 
financial matters, for, in spite of all decrees, they had 
never ceased to hold secretaryships in different states: 
they were, moreover, more unscrupulous than born Mu- 
hammedans, who always had more respect for law, cus- 
tom, and public opinion. Certainly the sultan considered 
the ministers in whom he placed great confidence less 
dangerous if they were wow-Moslems, since he was their 
only support, whereas comrades in religion could always 
find plenty of support aiid might easily betray him. 

Nasir died on the 6th of June, 1341, at about fifty- 
eight years of age, after a reign of forty-three years. 
His rule, which did not actually begin until he mounted 
the throne for the third time, lasted thirty-two years. 
During this period he was absolute ruler in the strongest 
sense of the word; every important affair was decided 
by him alone. The emirs had to refer all matters to him, 
and were a constant source of suspicion and oversight. 
They might not speak to each other in his presence, 
nor visit each other without his consent. The mildest 

Tombs of the Mamluk 



punishment for breaking such decrees was banishment 
to Syria. Nasir inspired them with fear rather than with 
love and respect, and, as soon as it was known that his 
illness was incurable, no one paid any further attention 
to him. He died as a pious Moslem and repentant sinner 
in the presence of some of his servants. His burial, which 
took place by night, was attended by a few emirs, and 
only one wax candle and one lamp were carried before 
the bier. As one of his biographers justly remarks, the 
rich sultan, whose dominion had extended from the bor- 
ders of Abyssinia to Asia Minor and up the Euphrates 
as far as Tunis, and the father of a large family, ended 
his life like a stranger, was buried like a poor man, and 
brought to his grave like a man without wife or child. 
Nasir was the last sultan who ruled over the Bahritic 
Mamluk kingdom with a firm hand. After his death 
we read of one insurrection after another, and the sultans 
were either deposed or became mere slaves of the emirs. 
Abu Bekr, whom Nasir had appointed his successor, 
did not hold his own for quite two months, because he 
maltreated the discontented emirs and put his favourites 
in their places. An insurrection, with the Emir Kausun 
at its head, was formed against him; he was dethroned 
and his six-year-old brother Kujuk was proclaimed sul- 
tan in his stead. The dethroned sultan was banished to 
Upper Egypt, whither his elder brother Ahmed should 
have been brought; Ahmed, however, refused to leave 
his fortress of Kerak, and, finding support among the 
Syrian emirs, he conspired against Kausun, who was at 
this moment threatened also with an insurrection in 


Cairo. After several bloody battles, Kausun was forced 
to yield, and Ahmed was proclaimed sultan (January, 
1342). Ahmed, however, preferred a quiet, peaceful life 
to the dangerous post of sultan, and not until he had 
received the most solemn oaths of allegiance did he pro- 
ceed to his capital, where he arrived quite unexpectedly, 
so that no festivities had been prepared. After some 
time, he had all the Syrian emirs arrested by his Mam- 
luks, because they tried to usurp his powers; he then 
appointed a regent, and himself returned to Kerak, tak- 
ing with him everything he had found in the sultan's 
palace, and there he remained in spite of the entreaties 
of the faithful emirs, and lived simply for his own 

The natural consequence of all this was Ahmed's 
deposition in June, 1342. His brother Ismail, a good- 
hearted youth of seventeen years, sent troops to Kerak 
to demand an oath of allegiance from Ahmed, but they 
could effect nothing, as the fortress was well fortified 
and provisioned, and, moreover, many of the emirs, both 
in Syria and Egypt, were still in league with Ahmed. 
Not until fresh troops had been sent, and Ahmed himself 
betrayed, did they succeed in taking the fortress; and 
Ahmed was put to death in 1344. Ahmed's death made 
such a deep impression upon the weak sultan that he fell 
into a fit of depression which gradually increased until 
he died in August of the following year. 

His brother and successor, Shaban, was an utter prof- 
ligate, cruel, faithless, avaricious, immoral, and pleasure- 
loving. Gladiators played an important part at his court, 



and he often took part in their contests. Horse-racing, 
cock-fights, and such like amusements occupied him much 
more than state affairs, and the whole court followed 
his example. As long as Shaban did not offend the emirs, 
he was at liberty to commit any atrocities he pleased, 
but, as soon as he seized their riches and imprisoned and 
tortured them, his downfall was certain. Ilbogha, Gov- 


ernor of Damascus, supported by the other Syrian emirs, 
sent him a list of his crimes and summoned him to abdi- 
cate. Meanwhile an insurrection had broken out in 
Cairo, and, although Shaban expressed his willingness 
to abdicate, he was murdered by the rebels in September, 
1346. His brother Haji met with a similar fate after a 
reign of fifteen months, though some accounts affirm 
that he was not murdered but only exiled. 


Haji was succeeded by his brother Hasan, who was 
still a minor; the emirs who ruled in his name competed 
for the highest posts until Baibagharus and his brother 
Menjik carried off the victory. These two ruled supreme 
for a time. The so-called " black death " was ravaging 
Egypt; many families were decimated, and their riches 
fell to the state. The disease, which differed from the 
ordinary pest in the blood-spitting and internal heat, 
raged in Europe and Asia, and spread the greatest con- 
sternation even amongst the Moslems, who generally 
regarded disease with a certain amount of indifference, 
as being a divine decree. According to Arabic sources, 
the black death had broken out in China and from there 
had spread over the Tatar-land of Kipjak; from here 
it took its course towards Constantinople, Asia Minor, 
and Syria on the one hand, and towards Greece, Italy, 
Spain, France, and Germany on the other, and was prob- 
ably brought to Egypt from Syria. Not only men, but 
beasts and even plants were attacked. The ravages were 
nowhere so fearful as in Egypt; in the capital alone 
in a few days as many as fifteen or twenty thousand 
people were stricken. As the disease continued to rage 
for two years, there was soon a lack of men to plough 
the fields and carry on the necessary trades; and to in- 
crease the general distress, incursions were made by the 
tribes of Turcomans and Bedouins, who plundered the 
towns and villages. Scarcely had this desperate state 
of affairs begun to improve when court intrigues sprang 
up afresh, and only ended with the deposition of the 
sultan in August, 1351. He was recalled after three years, 


during which his brother had reigned, and he was sub- 
sequently deposed and put to death in March, 1361. Fi- 
nally the descendants of Nasir, instead of his sons, began 
to rule. First came Muhammed Ibn Haji, who, as soon 
as he began to show signs of independence, was declared 
to be of unsound mind by his chief emir, Ilbogha; then 
Shaban, the son of Husain (May, 1363), who was stran- 
gled in March, 1377; and finally Husain 's eight-year-old 
son Ali. After repeated contests, Berkuk and Berekeh, 
two Circassian slaves, placed themselves at the head of 
the government. Berkuk, however, wished to be absolute, 
and soon put his co-regent out of the way (1389). He 
contented himself at first with being simply regent, and, 
even when Ali died, he declared his six-year-old brother 
Haji, sultan. The following year, when he discovered 
a conspiracy of the Mamluks against him, and when 
many of the older emirs were dead, he declared that it 
was for the good of the state that no longer a child, 
but a man capable of directing internal affairs and lead- 
ing an army against the enemy, should take over the 
government. The assembly, whom he had bribed before- 
hand, supported him, and he was appointed sultan in 
November, 1382. 

The external history of Egypt during this time is but 
scanty. She suffered several defeats at the hands of the 
Turcomans in the north of Syria, lost her supremacy in 
Mecca through the influence of the princes of South 
Arabia, and both Alexandria and several other coast 
towns were attacked and plundered by European fleets. 
This last event occurred in Shaban 's reign in 1365. Peter 


of Lusignan, King of Cyprus, had, in league with the 
Genoese, the Venetians, and Knights of Rhodes, placed 
himself at the head of a new Crusade, and since his expe- 
dition was a secret even in Europe,— for he was thought 
to be advancing against the Turks,— it was easy for him 
to take the Egyptians by surprise, and all the more so 
because the Governor of Alexandria happened to be ab- 
sent at the time. The militia tried in vain to prevent 
their landing, and the small garrison held out for but 
a short time, so that the prosperous and wealthy town 
was completely sacked and many prisoners were taken 
before the troops arrived from Cairo. 

The Christians living in Egypt suffered from this 
attack of the King of Cyprus. They had to find ransom 
money for the Moslem prisoners and to provide means 
for fitting out a new fleet. All negotiations with Cyprus, 
Genoa, and Venice were immediately broken off. This 
event, however, had the effect of reconciling the Italian 
traders again with Egypt, and an embassy came both 
from Genoa and Venice, expressing regret at what had 
happened, with the assurance that the government had 
had no hint of the intentions of the King of Cyprus. 
Genoa also sent back sixty prisoners who had fallen to 
them as their share of the Alexandrian booty. As 
Egypt's trade would also be at a standstill if they had 
no further negotiations with the Franks, who imported 
wood, metal, arms, oil, coral, wool, manufacturing and 
crystal wares in exchange for spices, cotton, and sugar, 
the former trade relations were re-established. The war 
with Cyprus continued, however; Alexandria was again 



threatened and Tripoli was surprised by the Cyprian 
fleet, whereupon a number of European merchants in 
Egypt were arrested. In the year 1370, after the death 
of Peter of Lusignan, peace and an exchange of prisoners 
were finally brought about. After this peace the Egyp- 
tians were able to concentrate their whole force against 
Leo VI., Prince of Smaller Armenia, who w^as brought 
as a prisoner to Cairo; and with him the supremacy 
of the Christians in this land was at an end: henceforth 
Egypt was ruled by Egyptian governors. 

Faraj, Berkuk's son and successor, had to suffer for 
his father's political mistakes. He had scarcely ascended 
the throne when the Ottomans seized Derenda, Albustan, 
and Malatia. Preparations for war were made, but given 
up again when it was seen that Bayazid could not ad- 
vance any farther south. Faraj was only thirteen years 
old, and all the old intrigues amongst the emirs broke 
out again. In Cairo they fought in the streets for the 
post of regent; anarchy and confusion reigned in the 
Egyptian provinces, and the Syrians wished to revolt 
against the sultan. When at last peace was re-estab- 
lished in Egypt, and Syria was reduced, the latter coun- 
try was again attacked by the hordes of Tamerlane. 

Tamerlane conquered the two important cities of 
Aleppo and Hemessa, and Faraj 's forces returned to 
Egypt. When the sultan's ally, Bayazid, was defeated, 
Faraj concluded a peace with Tamerlane, at the price of 
the surrender of certain lands. In 1405 Tamerlane died, 
and Faraj was collecting troops for the purpose of recov- 
ering Syria when domestic troubles caused him to flee 


from Egypt, his own brother Abd el- Aziz heading the 
insurrection. In the belief that Faraj was dead, Aziz was 
proclaimed his successor, but three months later Faraj 
was restored, and it was not until 1412 that he was 
charged with illegal practices and beheaded, his body 
being left unburied like that of a common malefactor. 
The fact that criminal proceedings were brought against 
the sultan is evidence of a great advance in the spirit of 
civilisation, but the event must be regarded more as a 
proof of its possibility than as a demonstration of its 

The Caliph El-Mustain was then proclaimed sultan, 
but after some months he was dethroned and his former 
prime minister, Sheikh Mahmudi, took over the reins of 
government (November, 1412). Although Sheikh had 
obtained the throne of Egypt so easily, he experienced 
great difficulty in obtaining the recognition of the emirs. 
Newruz, Governor of Damascus, in league with the other 
governors, made a determined resistance, and he was 
obliged to send a strong aririy into Syria to put down 
the rebels. Newruz, after suffering one defeat, threw 
himself into the citadel of Damascus and capitulated, 
when Sheikh had sworn to keep the terms of the capitu- 
lation. Newruz ? s ambassadors, however, had not a suf- 
ficient knowledge of Arabic to perceive that the oath was 
not binding, and when Newruz, trusting to this oath, 
appeared before Sheikh, he was immediately thrown 
into chains, and afterwards murdered in prison because 
the cadis declared the oath was not binding. In the 
next year (1415) Sheikh was obliged to make another 



expedition against Syria to re-conquer some of the 
places of which the smaller princes had taken pos- 
session during the civil war. One of these princes was 
the Prince Muhammed of Karaman, who had taken the 
town of Tarsus. Sheikh was summoned by Muhammed 's 
own brother to overcome him, which he easily succeeded 
in doing. Many other princes were forced to submit, and 


finally the town of Malatia, which the Turcoman Husain 
had stormed, was recaptured. The war against Husain 
and the Prince of Karaman was to have been continued, 
but Sheikh was forced to return home, owing to a wound 
in his foot. As soon as certain misunderstandings be- 
tween Sheikh and Kara Yusuf had been cleared up, an- 
other army was despatched into Asia Minor, for Tarsus 


had been recaptured by the Prince of Karaman, who had 
driven out the Prince of Albustan, whom Sheikh had 
installed. Ibrahim, the sultan's son, took command of 
this army, and occupied Caesarea, Nigdeh, and Kara- 
man. Whilst he was occupied in the interior of Asia 
Minor, the Governor of Damascus had defeated Musta- 
pha, son of the Prince of Karaman, and the Prince 
Ibrahim of Ramadhan, near Adana, which latter town, 
as well as Tarsus, he had re-conquered. 

The Prince of Karaman, who now advanced against 
Caesarea, suffered a total defeat. Mustapha remained 
on the field of battle, but his father was taken prisoner 
and sent to Cairo, where he lingered in confinement until 
after the death of the sultan. 

Once again was Syria threatened by Kara Yusuf , but 
he was soon forced to return to Irak by the conspiracy 
of his own son, Shah Muhammed, who lived in Baghdad. 
As soon as this insurrection was put down, Kara Yusuf 
was obliged to give his whole attention to Shah Roch, the 
son of Tamerlane, who had raised himself to the highest 
power in Persia, and was now attempting to re-conquer 
the province of Aderbaijan. Kara Yusuf placed himself 
at the head of an army to protect this province, but sud- 
denly died (November, 1420) on the way to Sultania, 
and his possessions were divided among his four sons, 
Shah Muhammed, Iskander, Ispahan, and Jihan Shah, 
who all, just as the descendants of Tamerlane had done, 
immediately began to quarrel among themselves. 

The sultan was already very ill when the news of Kara 
Yusuf 's death reached him. The death of Ibrahim, 



his son, whom he had caused to be poisoned, on his 
return from Asia Minor, weighed heavily upon him and 
hastened his death, which took place on January 13, 1421. 
He left immense riches behind him, but could not obtain 
a proper burial; everything was at once seized by the 
emirs, who did not trouble themselves in the least about 

-^fffin^T^"'" 1 «. *~ ~* _* 


his corpse. He had been by no means a good sultan; 
he had brought much misery upon the people, and had 
oppressed the emirs. But in spite of all he had many 
admirers who overlooked his misdeeds and cruelty, be- 
cause he was a pious Moslem; that is, he did not openly 
transgress against the decrees of Islam, favoured the 
theologians, and distinguished himself as an orator and 


poet; he also founded a splendid mosque, a hospital, 
and a school for theology. His whole life abounds in 
contrasts. After he had broken his oath to Newruz, he 
spent several days in a cloister to make atonement for 
this crime, and was present at all the religious ceremonies 
and dances. Although he shed streams of blood to satisfy 
his avarice, he wore a woollen garment, and bade the 
preachers, when they mentioned his name after that of 
Muhammed, to descend a step on the staircase of the 
chancel. Under a religious sultan of this stamp, the 
position of the non-Muhammedans was by no means an 
enviable one. The Jews and Christians had to pay enor- 
mous taxes and the old decrees against them were re- 
newed. Not only were they forced to wear special 
colours, but the length of their sleeves and head-bands 
was also decreed, and even the women were obliged to 
wear a distinctive costume. 

Sheikh appointed his son Ahmed, one year old, as his 
successor, and named the emirs who were to act as re- 
gents until he became of age, Tatar, the most cunning 
and unscrupulous of these emirs, soon succeeded in ob- 
taining the supreme power and demanded homage as 
sultan (August 29, 1421) ; but he soon fell ill and died 
after a reign of about three months. He, too, appointed 
a young son as his successor and named the regents, but 
Bursbai also soon grasped the supreme power and as- 
cended the throne in 1422. He had of course many 
insurrections to quell, but was not obliged to leave Egypt. 
As soon as peace was restored in Syria, Bursbai turned 
his attention to the European pirates, who had long been 



harassing the coasts of Syria and Egypt. They were 
partly Cypriots and partly Catalonians and Genoese, who 
started from Cyprus and landed their booty on this 
island. Bursbai resolved first to conquer this island. 
He despatched several ships with this object in view; 
they landed at Limasol, and, having burnt the ships in 
the harbour and plundered the town, they returned home. 
The favourable result of this expedition much encour- 


aged the sultan, and in the following year he sent out a 
large fleet from Alexandria which landed in Famagosta. 
This town soon surrendered and the troops proceeded 
to plunder the neighbouring places, and defeated all the 
troops which Prince Henry of Lusignan sent out against 
them. When they had advanced as far as Limasol, the 
Egyptian commander, hearing that Janos, the King of 
Cyprus, was advancing with a large army against him, 
determined to return to Egypt to bring his enormous 


booty into safety. In July, 1426, a strong Egyptian fleet 
set out for the third time, landed east of Limasol, and 
took this fortress after a few days' fighting. The Mos- 
lem army was, however, forced to retreat. But the Cyp- 
riots scattered instead of pursuing the enemy, and the 
Mamluks, seeing this, renewed their attack, slew many 
Christians and took the king prisoner. The capital, 
Nicosia, then capitulated, whereupon the Egyptian 
troops returned to Egypt with the captive king and were 
received with great jubilation. The King of Cyprus, 
after submitting to the greatest humiliations, was asked 
what ransom he could pay. He replied that he possessed 
nothing but his life, and stuck to this answer, although 
threatened with death. Meanwhile, Venetian and other 
European merchants negotiated for the ransom money, 
and the sultan finally contented himself with two hun- 
dred thousand dinars (about $500,000). Janos, however, 
was not set at liberty, but sent to Cyprus as the sultan's 
vassal. After the death of Janos in 1432, his son, 
John H., still continued tb pay tribute to Egypt, and 
when he died (1458) and his daughter Charlotte became 
Queen of Cyprus, James II., the natural son of John II., 
fled to Egypt and found a friendly reception at the sul- 
tan's court. The sultan then ruling was Inal, and he 
promised to re-install James as King of Cyprus. Mean- 
while messengers arrived from the queen, offering a 
higher tribute, and Inal allowed himself to be persuaded 
by his emirs to acknowledge Charlotte as queen, and to 
hand James over to her ambassadors. But as soon as 
the ambassadors had left the audience-chamber, a tumult 



arose; the people declared that the sultan had only the 
advantage of the Franks— especially of Prince Louis of 
Savoy— in view, and they soon took such a threatening 


attitude that Inal was forced to declare himself for James 
again and renew his former preparations. In August, 
1460, an Egyptian fleet bore James to Cyprus, and with 
the help of the Egyptian troops he soon obtained 


the island, with the exception of the fortress Cerines, 
which Queen Charlotte still had in her power. The 
majority of the Egyptian troops now returned to Egypt, 
and only some hundred men remained with James. 
Later, when the Genoese declared themselves on the side 
of Charlotte, fresh troops had to be sent out from Egypt, 
but, as soon as James had taken Famagosta and had no 
further need of them, he dismissed them (1464). 

Bursbai despised no means by which he might enrich 
himself; he appropriated the greater part of the inherit- 
ance of the Jews and Christians; he even taxed poor 
pilgrims, in spite of the fact that he was a pious Moslem, 
prayed much, fasted, and read the Koran. He turned 
Mecca into a money-market. At the very moment when 
pious pilgrims were praying for the forgiveness of their 
sins, one of his heralds was proclaiming: " Whoever 
buys wares and does not pay toll for them in Egypt has 
forfeited his life." That is to say, all wares bought in 
Mecca or Jiddah had to go out of their way to Egypt 
in order to be laid under toll in this land. 

In appointing his son Yusuf to the consulship, Burs- 
bai counted on the devotedness of his Mamluks, and the 
Emir Jakmak, whom he appointed as his chief adviser, 
and, in fact, Yusuf 's coronation, in June, 1438, met with 
no resistance. After three months, however, Jakmak, 
feeling himself secure, quietly assumed the sultan's 
place; at first he had much resistance to put down, but 
soon his prudence and resolution established him safely 
in spite of all opposition. As soon as the rebels in the 
interior had been dealt with, Yusuf, as a good Muham- 



medan, wished to attack the Christians, and chose the 
island of Rhodes as the scene of the Holy War, hoping 
to obtain this island as easily as Bursbai had obtained 
the island of Cyprus. But the Order of St. John, to 
whom this island belonged, had its spies in Egypt, so 
that the sultan's intentions were discovered and prep- 
arations for defence were made. The only result of the 
sultan's repeated expeditions was the devastation of 


some unimportant coast towns; all attempts on the capi- 
tal failed, so that the siege was soon raised and peace 
concluded with the chief master of Rhodes (1444). 

Jakmak's relations with the foreign chiefs were most 
friendly. He constantly exchanged letters and gifts with 
both Sultan Murad and Shah Roch. The sons of Kara 
Yelek and the princes of the houses of Ramadhan and 
Dudgadir submitted to him; also Jihangir, Kara Yelek 's 


grandson and Governor of Amid, tried to secure his 
friendship, as did the latter 's deadly enemy, Jihan Shah, 
the son of Kara Yusuf . 

Jakmak's rule was mild compared with that of Burs- 
bai, and we hear less of extraordinary taxes, extortions, 
executions, and violence of the Mamluks. Although he 
was beloved by the people and priests on account of his 
piety, he could not secure the succession of his son Os- 
man, in favour of whom he abdicated fourteen days 
before his death (February, 1453). Osman remained 
only a month and a half on the throne; he made him- 
self odious to the emirs who did not belong to his Mam- 
luks. The Mamluks of his predecessors conspired against 
him, and at their head stood his own Atabeg, the Emir 
Inal, a former Mamluk of Berkuk. Osman was warned, 
but he only mocked those who recommended him to 
watchfulness, since he believed his position to be unas- 
sailable. He had forgotten that his father was a 
usurper, who, although himself a perjurer, hoped to bind 
others by means of oaths. His eyes were not opened 
until he had lost all means of defence. He managed 
to hold out for seven days, after which the citadel was 
captured by the rebels, and he was forced to abdicate 
on the 19th of March. Inal became, even more than his 
predecessors had been, a slave to those Mamluks to whom 
he owed his kingdom. They committed the greatest 
atrocities and threatened the sultan himself when he 
tried to hold them in check. They plundered corpses 
on their way to the grave, and attacked the mosques 
during the hours of service in order to rob the pilgrims. 




They were so hated and feared that, when many of them 
were carried off by the plague, their deaths were recorded 
by a contemporary historian as a benefit to all classes 
of society. 

In the hour of his death (26th February, 1461), Inal 
appointed his son Ahmed as his successor, but the latter 
was no more able to maintain himself on the throne than 
his predecessors had been, in spite of his numerous good 
qualities. He was forced to submit in the strife with 
his emirs, and on the 28th of June, 1461, after a reign 
of four months and three days, he was dethroned, and 
the Emir Khosh Kadem, a former slave of the Sultan 
Sheikh, of Greek descent, was proclaimed in his stead. 
Khosh Kadem reigned for seven years with equity and 
benignity, and under one of his immediate successors, 
El-Ashraf Kait Bey, a struggle was begun with the 
Ottoman Turks. On the death of Muhammed II., dis- 
sensions had arisen between Bayazid II. and Jem. Jem, 
being defeated by Bayazid, retired to Egypt, which led 
to the invasion and conquest of Syria, hitherto held by 
the Sultan of Egypt. On surrendering Tarsus and Adana 
to Bayazid, Kait Bey was suffered to end his days in 
peace in a. d. 1495. After many dissensions, the brave 
and learned El-Ghuri ascended the throne, and Selim I., 
the Turkish sultan, soon found a pretext for an attack 
upon the Mamluk power. A long and sanguinary battle 
was fought near Aleppo, in which El-Ghuri was finally 
defeated through treachery. He was trampled to death 
by his own cavalry in their attempt to escape from the 
pursuing Ottomans. With his death, in a. d. 1516, Egypt 



lost her independence. Tuman Bey, a nephew of the de- 
ceased, fiercely contested the advance of the Ottomans, 
but was defeated and treacherously killed by the Turks. 
A long period of Turkish misrule now opened for 
the ill-fated country, though some semblance of concilia- 
tion was attempted by Selim's appointment of twenty- 


four Mamluk beys as subordinate rulers over twenty- 
four military provinces of Egypt. These beys were 
under the control of a Turkish pasha, whose council was 
formed of seven Turkish chiefs, while one of the Mamluk 
beys held the post of Sheikh el-Beled or Governor of 
the Metropolis. For nearly two centuries the Turkish 
pashas were generally obeyed in Egypt, although there 
were frequent intrigues and quarrels on the part of 




competing Mamluk beys to secure possession of the 
coveted post of Sheikh el-Beled. Towards the middle of 
the eighteenth century the authority of the Turkish 
pashas had become merely nominal, while that of the 
beys had increased to such an extent that the govern- 
ment of Egypt became a military oligarchy. The weak- 
ness of the Turks left the way open for the rise of any 
adventurer of ability and ambition who might aspire to 
lead the Mamluks to overthrow the sovereignty of the 

In the year 1768 the celebrated Ali Bey headed a 
revolt against the Turks, which he maintained for several 
years with complete success. A period of good but vig- 
orous government lasted during the years in which he 
successfully resisted the Ottoman power. Ali's generals 
also gained for him considerable influence beyond the 
borders of Egypt. Muhammed Abu Dhahab was sent 
by him to Arabia and entered the sacred city of Mecca, 
where the sherif was deposed. Ali also despatched an 
expedition to the eastern shores of the Red Sea, and 
Muhammed Bey, after his successes in Arabia, invaded 
Syria and wrested that province from the power of the 
sultan. The victorious soldier, however, now plotted 
against his master and took the lead in a military revolt. 
As a result of this, Ali Bey fell into an ambuscade set 
by his own rebellious subjects, and died from poisoning 
in 1786. Thus terminated the career of the famous 
Mamluk, a man whose energy, talents, and ambition 
bear a strong resemblance to those of the later Mehe- 
met Ali. 



Muhammed Bey, the Mamluk who had revolted 
against Ali Bey, now tendered his allegiance to the Porte. 
To the title of Governor of the Metropolis was also added 
that of Pasha of Egypt. He subdued Syria, and died 
during the pillage of Acre. 

After his death violent dissensions again broke out. 
The Porte supported Ismail Bey, who retained the post 
of Governor of the Metropolis (Sheikh el-Beled) until 
the terrible plague of 1790, in which he perished. 

His former rivals, Ibrahim and Murad, now returned; 
and eight years later were still in the leadership when 
the news was brought to Egypt that a fleet carrying 
thirty thousand men, under Bonaparte, had arrived at 
Alexandria on an expedition of conquest. 

Bonaparte in Kgypt 

After the painting by M. Orange 







Napoleon's campaign : Battles of the Pyramids and of Abukir : Siege of Acre : 
KISber's administration : The evacuation of Egypt. 

T the close of the eighteenth century 
Egypt's destiny passed into the hands 
of the French. Napoleon's descent upon 
Egypt was part of his vast strategic 
plan for the overthrow of Great Britain. 
He first of all notified the Directory of 
this design in September, 1797, in a letter sent from Italy. 
Late in the same year and during 1798 vast preparations 
had been in progress for the invasion of England. Napo- 
leon then visited all the seaports in the north of France 
and Holland, and found that a direct invasion of England 
was a practical impossibility because the British held 
command over the sea. The suggested invasion of Egypt 
was now seriously considered. By the conquest of Egypt, 

it was contended, England would be cut off from the 
possession of India, and France, through Egypt, would 



dominate the trade to the Orient. From Egypt Napoleon 
could gather an army of Orientals and conquer the whole 
of the East, including India itself. On his return, Eng- 
land would prove to be too exhausted to withstand the 
French army at home and would fall a prey to the ambi- 
tions of the First Consul. The Directory assented to 
Bonaparte's plans the more readily because they were 
anxious to keep so popular a leader, the idol of the army, 
at a great distance from the centre of government. 
While the preparations were in process, no one in Eng- 
land knew of this undertaking. The French fleet lay in 
various squadrons in ports of Italy, from which thirty 
thousand men were embarked. 

Bonaparte arrived at Toulon on May 9, 1798. His 
presence rejoiced the army, which had begun to murmur 
and to fear that he would not be at the head of the expe- 
dition. It was the old army of Italy, rich and covered 
with glory, and hence had much less zeal for making 
war; it required all the enthusiasm with which the gen- 
eral inspired his soldiers t<5 induce them to embark and 
proceed to an unknown destination. On seeing him at 
Toulon, they were inflamed with ardour. Bonaparte, 
without acquainting them with their destination, ex- 
horted the soldiers, telling them that they had great 
destinies to fulfil, and that " the genius of liberty, which 
had made the republic from her birth the arbitress of 
Europe, decreed that she should be so to the most remote 
seas and nations." 

The squadron of Admiral Brueys consisted of thirteen 
sail of the line, and carried about forty thousand men of 



all arms and ten thousand seamen. It had water for one 
month and provisions for two. It sailed on the 19th 
of May, amid the thunders of the cannons and the cheers 
of the whole army. Violent gales did some damage to a 
frigate on leaving the port, and Nelson, who was cruising 
with three sail of the line in search of the French fleet, 
suffered so severely from the same gales that he was 



obliged to bear up for the islands of St. Pierre to refit. 
He was thus kept at a distance from the French fleet, 
and did not see it pass. It steered first towards Genoa 
to join the convoy collected in that port, under the com- 
mand of General Baraguay d'Hilliers. It then sailed for 
Corsica, to call for the convoy at Ajaccio commanded 
by Vaubois, and afterwards proceeded to the sea of 
Sicily to join the division of Civita Vecchia, under the 
command of Desaix. 


Bonaparte's intention was to stop at Malta, and there 
to make by the way a bold attempt, the success of which 
he had long since prepared by secret intrigues. He 
meant to take possession of that island, w T hich, command- 
ing the navigation of the Mediterranean, became impor- 
tant to Egypt and could not fail soon to fall into the 
hands of the English, unless they were anticipated. 

Bonaparte made great efforts to join the division 
from Civita Vecchia; but this he could not accomplish 
until he was off Malta. The five hundred French sail 
came in sight of the island on June 9th, twenty-two days 
after leaving Toulon. This sight filled the city of Malta 
with consternation. The following day (June 10th) the 
French troops landed on the island, and completely in- 
vested Valetta, which contained a population of nearly 
thirty thousand souls, and was even then one of the 
strongest fortresses in Europe. The inhabitants were 
dismayed and clamoured for surrender, and the grand 
master, who possessed little energy, and recollected the 
generosity of the conqueror of Rivoli at Mantua, hoping 
to save his interest from shipwreck, released one of the 
French knights, whom he had thrown into prison when 
they refused to fight against their countrymen, and sent 
him to Bonaparte to negotiate. A treaty was soon con- 
cluded, by which the Knights of Malta gave up to France 
the sovereignty of Malta and the dependent islands. 
Thus France gained possession of the best harbour in 
the Mediterranean, and one of the strongest in the world. 
It required the ascendency of Bonaparte to obtain it 
without fighting; and it necessitated also the risk of 














losing some precious days, with the English in pursuit 
of him. 

The French fleet weighed anchor on the 19th of June, 
after a stay of ten days. The essential point now was 
not to fall in with the English. Nelson, having refitted 
at the islands of St. Pierre, had returned on June 1st 
to Toulon, but the French squadron had been gone twelve 
days. He had run from Toulon to the roads of Taglia- 
mon, and from the roads of Tagliamon to Naples, where 
he had arrived on June 20th, at the very moment when 
Bonaparte was leaving Malta. Learning that the French 
had been seen off Malta, he followed, determined to at- 
tack them, if he could overtake them. At one moment, 
the English squadron was only a few leagues distant 
from the immense French convoy, and neither party was 
aware of it. Nelson, supposing that the French were 
bound for Egypt, made sail for Alexandria, and arrived 
there before them; but not finding them, he flew to the 
Dardanelles to seek them there. By a singular fate, it 
was not till two days afterwards that the French ex- 
pedition came in sight of Alexandria, on the 1st of July, 
which was very nearly six weeks since it sailed from 
Toulon. Bonaparte immediately sent on shore for the 
French consul. He learned that the English had made 
their appearance two days before, and, supposing them 
to be not far off, he resolved that very moment to attempt 
a landing. It was impossible to enter the harbour of 
Alexandria, for the place appeared disposed to defend 
itself; it became necessary, therefore, to land at some 
distance on the neighbouring coast, at an inlet called the 


Creek of the Marabou. The wind blew violently and 
the sea broke with fury over the reefs on the shore. It 
was near the close of the day, but Bonaparte gave the 
signal and resolved to go on shore immediately. He was 
the first to disembark, and, with great difficulty, four or 
five thousand men were landed in the course of the even- 
ing and the following night. Bonaparte resolved to 
march forthwith for Alexandria, in order to surprise the 
place and to prevent the Turks from making prepara- 
tions for defence. The troops instantly commenced their 
march. Not a horse was vet landed: the staff of Bona- 
parte, and Caffarelli himself, notwithstanding his wooden 
leg, had to walk four or five leagues over the sands, and 
came at daybreak within sight of Alexandria. 

That ancient city no longer possessed its magnificent 
edifices, its innumerable houses, and its immense popula- 
tion. Three-fourths of it was in ruins. The Turks, the 
wealthy Egyptians, the European merchants dwelt in 
the modern town, which was the only part preserved. 
A few Arabs lived among the ruins of the ancient city: 
an old wall, flanked by towers, enclosed the new and the 
old town, and all around extended those sands which in 
Egypt are sure to advance wherever civilisation recedes. 
The four thousand French led by Bonaparte arrived 
there at daybreak. Upon this sandy beach they met with 
Arabs only, who, after firing a few musket-shots, fled 
to the desert. Napoleon divided his men into three col- 
umns. Bon, with the first column, marched on the right 
towards the Rosetta gate; Kleber, with the second, 
marched in the centre towards the gate of the Catacombs. 




The Arabs and the Turks, excellent soldiers behind a 
wall, kept up a steady fire, but the French mounted with 
ladders and got over the old wall. Kleber was the first 
who fell, seriously wounded on the forehead. The Arabs 
were driven from ruin to ruin, as far as the new town, 
and the combat seemed likely to be continued from street 
to street, and to become sanguinary, when a Turkish 
captain served as a mediator for negotiating an arrange- 
ment. Bonaparte declared that he had not come to rav- 
age the country, or to wrest it from its ruler, but merely 
to deliver it from the domination of the Mamluks, and 
to revenge the outrages which they had committed 
against France. He promised that the authorities of 
the country should be upheld; that the ceremonies of 
religion should continue to be performed as before; that 
property should be respected. On these conditions, the 
resistance ceased, and the French were masters of Alex- 
andria. Meanwhile, the remainder of the army had 
landed. It was immediately necessary to decide where 
to place the squadron safely— whether in the harbour 
or in one of the neighbouring roads;— to form at Alex- 
andria an administration adapted to the manners of the 
country; and also to devise a plan of invasion in order 
to gain possession of Egypt. 

At this period the population of Egypt was, like the 
towns that covered it, a mixture of the wrecks of several 
nations,— Kopts, the survivors of the ancient inhabitants 
of the land; Arabs, who conquered Egypt from the 
Kopts; and Turks, the conquerors of the Arabs. On the 
arrival of the French, the Kopts amounted at most to 


two hundred thousand: poor, despised, brutalised, they 
had devoted themselves, like all the proscribed classes, to 
the most ignoble occupations. The Arabs formed almost 
the entire mass of the population. Their condition was 
infinitely varied : some were of high birth, carrying back 
their pedigree to Muhammed 1 himself; and some were 
landed proprietors, possessing traces of Arabian knowl- 
edge, and combining with nobility the functions of the 
priesthood and the magistracy, who, under the title of 
sheikhs, were the real aristocracy of Egypt. In the 
divans, they represented the country, when its tyrants 
wished to address themselves to it; in the mosques, they 
formed a kind of university, in which they taught the 
religion and the morality of the Koran, and a little phi- 
losophy and jurisprudence. The great mosque of Jemil- 
Azar constituted the foremost learned and religious body 
in the East. Next to these grandees came the smaller 
landholders, composing the second and more numerous 
class of the Arabs; then the great mass of the inhab- 
itants, who had sunk into the state of absolute helots. 
These last were hired peasants or fellahs who cultivated 
the land, and lived in abject poverty. There was also a 
class of Arabs, namely, the Bedouins or rovers, who 
would never attach themselves to the soil, but were the 
children of the desert. These wandering Arabs, divided 
into tribes on both sides of the valley, numbered nearly 

1 The original of the illustration upon the opposite page is to be seen in a 
finely illuminated MS. of the ninth century, A. D., preserved in the India Office, 
London. The picture is of peculiar interest, being the only known portrait 
of Muhammed, who is evidently represented as receiving the divine command 
to propagate Muhammedanism. 



{•. mi •//■£■<.■■> '■■*■ 





















one hundred and twenty thousand, and could furnish 
from twenty to twenty-five thousand horse. They were 
brave, but fit only to harass the enemy, not to fight him. 
The third and last race was that of the Turks; but it 
was not more numerous than the Kopts, amounting to 
about two hundred thousand souls at most, and was 
divided into Turks and Mamluks. The Turks were 
nearly all enrolled in the list of janizaries; but it is well 
known that they frequently had their names inscribed 
in those lists, that they might enjoy the privileges of 
janizaries, and that a very small number of them were 
really in the service. Very few of them composed the 
military force of the pasha. This pasha, sent from Con- 
stantinople, was the sultan's representative in Egypt; 
but, escorted by only a few janizaries, he found his au- 
thority invalidated by the very precautions which Sultan 
Selim had formerly taken to preserve it. That sultan, 
judging that Egypt was likely from its remoteness to 
throw off the dominion of Constantinople, and that a 
clever and ambitious pasha might create there an inde- 
pendent empire, had, as we have seen, devised a plan to 
frustrate such a motive, should it exist, by instituting 
a Mamluk soldiery; but it was the Mamluks, and not 
the pasha, who rendered themselves independent of Con- 
stantinople and the masters of Egypt. 

Egypt was at this time an absolute feudality, like that 
of Europe in the Middle Ages. It exhibited at once a 
conquered people, a conquering soldiery in rebellion 
against its sovereign, and, lastly, an ancient degenerate 
class, who served and were in the pay of the strongest. 


Two beys, superior to the rest, ruled Egypt: the one, 
Ibrahim Bey, wealthy, crafty, and powerful; the other, 
Murad Bey, intrepid, valiant, and full of ardour. They 
had agreed upon a sort of division of authority, by which 
Ibrahim Bey had the civil, and Murad Bey the military, 
power. It was the business of the latter to fight; he 
excelled in it, and he possessed the affection of the Mam- 
luks, who were all eager to follow him. 

Bonaparte immediately perceived the line of policy 
which he had to pursue in Egypt. He must, in the first 
place, wrest that country from its real masters, the Mam- 
luks; it was necessary for him to fight them, and to 
destroy them by arms and by policy. He had, moreover, 
strong reasons to urge against them; for they had never 
ceased to ill-treat the French. As for the Porte, it was 
requisite that he should not appear to attack its sov- 
ereignty, but affect, on the contrary, to respect it. In 
the state to which it was reduced, that sovereignty was 
not to be dreaded, and he could treat with the Porte, 
either for the cession of Egypt, by granting certain ad- 
vantages elsewhere, or for a partition of authority, in 
which there would be nothing detrimental; for the 
French, in leaving the pasha at Cairo, and transferring 
to themselves the power of the Mamluks, would not occa- 
sion much regret. As for the inhabitants, in order to 
make sure of their attachment, it would be requisite 
to win over the Arab population. By respecting the 
sheikhs, by flattering their old pride, by increasing their 
power, by encouraging their secret desire for the re-es- 
tablishment of their ancient glories, Bonaparte reckoned 


upon ruling the land, and attaching it entirely to him. 
By afterwards sparing persons and property, among a 
people accustomed to consider conquest as conferring a 
right to murder, pillage, and devastate, he would create 
a sentiment that would be most advantageous to the 
French army. If, furthermore, the French were to re- 
spect women and the Prophet, the conquest of hearts 
would be as firmly secured as that of the soil. 

Napoleon conducted himself agreeably to these con- 
clusions, which were equally just and profound. He 
immediately made his plans for establishing the French 
authority at Alexandria, and for quitting the Delta and 
gaining possession of Cairo, the capital of Egypt. It 
was the month of July; the Nile was about to inundate 
the country. He was anxious to reach Cairo before the 
inundation, and to employ the time during which it 
should last in establishing himself there. He ordered 
everything at Alexandria to be left in the same state 
as formerly; that the religious exercises should be con- 
tinued; and that justice should be administered as before 
by the cadis. His intention was merely to possess him- 
self of the rights of the Mamluks, and to appoint a com- 
missioner to levy the accustomed imposts. He caused 
a divan, or municipal council, composed of the sheikhs 
and principal persons of Alexandria, to be formed, in 
order to consult them on all the measures which the 
French authority would have to take. He left three thou- 
sand men in garrison in Alexandria, and gave the com- 
mand of it to Kleber, whose wound was liable to keep 
him in a state of inactivity for a month or two. He 


directed a young Frenchman of extraordinary merit, and 
who gave promise of becoming a great engineer, to put 
Alexandria in a state of defence, and to construct there 
all the necessary works. This was Colonel Cretin, who, 
in a short time, and at a small expense, executed superb 
works at Alexandria. Bonaparte then ordered the fleet 
to be put in a place of security. It was a question 
whether the large ships could enter the port of Alex- 
andria. A commission of naval officers was appointed 
to sound the harbour and make a report. Meanwhile, 
the fleet was anchored in the road of Abukir, and Bona- 
parte ordered Brueys to see to it that this question 
should be speedily decided, and to proceed to Corfu if 
it should be ascertained that the ships could not enter 
the harbour of Alexandria. 

After he had attended to all these matters, he made 
preparations for marching. A considerable flotilla, laden 
with provisions, artillery, ammunition, and baggage, was 
to run along the coast to the Rosetta mouth, enter the 
Nile, and ascend the river at the same time as the French 
army. He then set out with the main body of the army, 
which, after leaving the two garrisons in Malta and 
Alexandria, was about thirty thousand strong. He had 
ordered his flotilla to proceed as high as Ramanieh, on 
the banks of the Nile. There he purposed to join it, and 
to proceed up the Nile parallel with it, in order to quit 
the Delta and to reach Upper Egypt, or Bahireh. There 
were two roads from Alexandria to Ramanieh; one 
through an inhabited country, along the sea-coast and 
the Nile, and the other shorter and as the bird flies, but 


across the desert of Damanhour. Bonaparte, without 
hesitation, chose the shorter. It was of consequence 
that he should reach Cairo as speedily as possible. De- 
saix marched with the advanced guard, and the main 
body followed at a distance of a few leagues. They 
started on the 6th of July. When the soldiers found 
themselves amidst this boundless plain, with a shifting 
sand beneath their feet, a scorching sun over their heads, 
without water, without shade, with nothing for the eye 
to rest upon but rare clumps of palm-trees, seeing no 
living creatures but small troops of Arab horsemen, who 
appeared and disappeared at 
the horizon, and sometimes 
concealed themselves behind 
sand-hills to murder the lag- 
gards, they were profoundly 
dejected. - They found all 
the wells, which at intervals street dogs. 

border the road through the desert, destroyed by the 
Arabs. There were left only a few drops of brack- 
ish water, wholly insufficient for quenching their 
thirst. They had been informed that they should find 
refreshments at Damanhour, but they met with nothing 
there but miserable huts, and could procure neither bread 
nor wine; only lentils in great abundance, and a little 
water. They were obliged to proceed again into the 
desert. Bonaparte saw the brave Lannes and Murat 
take off their hats, dash them on the sand, and trample 
them under foot. He, however, overawed all: his pres- 
ence imposed silence, and sometimes restored cheerful- 


ness. The soldiers would not impute Iheir sufferings 
to him, but grew angry with those who took pleasure 
in observing the country. On seeing the men of science 
stop to examine the slightest ruins, they said they should 
not have been there but for them, and revenged them- 
selves with witticisms after their fashion. Caffarelli, 
in particular, brave as a grenadier, and inquisitive as 
a scholar, was considered by them as the man who had 
deceived the general and drawn him into this distant 
country. As he had lost a leg on the Rhine, they said, 
" He, for his part, laughs at this: he has one foot in 
France." At last, after severe hardships, endured at 
first with impatience, and afterwards with gaiety and 
fortitude, they reached the Nile on the 10th of July, 
after a march of four days. At the sight of the Nile 
and of the water so much longed for, the soldiers flung 
themselves into it, and, bathing in its waves, forgot their 
fatigues. Desaix' division, which from the advance- 
guard had become the rear-guard, saw two or three hun- 
dred Mamluks galloping before it, whom they dispersed 
by a few volleys of grape. These were the first that 
had been seen, which warned the French that they would 
speedily fall in with the hostile army. The brave Murad 
Bey, having received the intelligence of the arrival of 
Bonaparte, was actually collecting his forces around 
Cairo. Until they should have assembled, he was hover- 
ing with a thousand horse about the army, in order to 
watch its march. 

The army waited at Ramanieh for the arrival of the 
flotilla. It rested till July 13th, and set out on the same 


day for Chebreiss. Murad Bey was waiting there with 
his Mamluks. The flotilla, which had set out first and 
preceded the army, found itself engaged before it could 
be supported. Murad Bey had a flotilla also, and from 
the shore he joined his fire to that of his light Egyptian 
vessels. The French flotilla had to sustain a very severe 
combat. Perree, a naval officer who commanded it, dis- 
played extraordinary courage; he was supported by the 
cavalry, who had come dismounted to Egypt, and who, 
until they could equip themselves at the expense of the 
Mamluks, had taken their passage by water. Two gun- 
boats were retaken from the enemy, and Perree was 

At that moment the army came up; it was composed 
of five divisions, and had not yet been in action with 
its singular enemies. To swiftness and the charge of 
horse, and to sabre-cuts, it would be necessary to oppose 
the immobility of the foot-soldier, his long bayonet, and 
masses presenting a front on every side. Bonaparte 
formed his five divisions into five squares, in the centre 
of which were placed the baggage and the staff. The 
artillery was at the angles. The five divisions flanked 
one another. Murad Bey flung upon these living citadels 
a thousand or twelve hundred intrepid horse ; who, bear- 
ing down with loud shouts and at full gallop, discharging 
their pistols, and then drawing their formidable sabres, 
threw themselves upon the front of the squares. En- 
countering everywhere a hedge of bayonets and a 
tremendous fire, they hovered about the French ranks, 
fell before them, or scampered off in the plain at the 


utmost speed of their horses. Murad Bey, after losing 
a few of his bravest men, retired for the purpose of 
proceeding to the point of the Delta, and awaiting them 
near Cairo at the head of all his forces. 

This action was sufficient to familiarise the army with 
this new kind of enemy, and to suggest to Bonaparte 
the kind of tactics which he ought to employ with them. 
He pursued his march towards Cairo, and the flotilla as- 
cended the Nile abreast of the army. It marched without 
intermission during the following days, and, although the 
soldiers had fresh hardships to endure, they kept close 
to the Nile, and could bathe every night in its waters. 

The army now approached Cairo, where the decisive 
battle was to be fought. Murad Bey had collected here 
the greater part of his Mamluks, nearly ten thousand in 
number, and they were attended by double the number 
of fellahs, to whom arms were given, and who were 
obliged to fight behind the intrenchments. He had also 
assembled some thousands of janizaries, or spahis, de- 
pendent on the pasha, who, notwithstanding Bonaparte's 
letter of conciliation, had suffered himself to be per- 
suaded to join his oppressors. Murad Bey had made 
preparations for defence on the banks of the Nile. The 
great capital, Cairo, is situated on the right bank of the 
river, and on the opposite bank Murad Bey had pitched 
his tent, in a long plain extending from the river to the 
pyramids of Gizeh. 

On the 21st of July, the French army set itself in 
motion before daybreak. As they approached, they saw 
the minarets of Cairo shooting up; they saw the pyra- 



mids increase in height; they saw the swarming mul- 
titude which guarded Embabeh; they saw the glistening 
arms of ten thousand horsemen resplendent with gold 
and steel, and forming an immense line. The face 
of Bonaparte beamed 
with enthusiasm. He 
began to gallop before 
the ranks of the sol- 
diers, and, pointing to 
the pyramids, he ex- 
claimed, " Consider, 
that from the summit 
of those pyramids 
forty centuries have 
their eyes fixed upon 

In the battle of 
the Pyramids, as it 
was called, the ene- 
my's force of sixty 
thousand men was 
almost completely an- 
nihilated. The Mam- 
luks, bewildered by 

European tactics, impaled themselves upon the bayonets 
of the French squares. Fifteen thousand men of all arms 
fell upon the field. The battle had cost the French 
scarcely a hundred killed and wounded; for, if defeat 
is terrible for broken squares, the loss is insignificant 
for victorious squares. The Mamluks had lost their best 



horsemen by fire or water: their forces were dispersed, 
and the possession of Cairo secured. The capital was in 
extraordinary agitation. It contained more than three 
hundred thousand inhabitants, many of whom were in- 
dulging in all sorts of excesses, and intending to profit 
by the tumult to pillage the rich palaces of the beys. 

The French flotilla, however, had not yet ascended the 
Nile, and there was no means of crossing to take pos- 
session of Cairo. Some French traders who happened 
to be there were sent to Bonaparte by the sheikhs to 
arrange concerning the occupation of the city. He pro- 
cured a few light boats, or djerms, and sent across the 
river a detachment of troops, which at once restored 
tranquillity, and secured persons and property from the 
fury of the populace. 

Bonaparte established his headquarters at Gizeh, on 
the banks of the Nile, where Murad Bey had an imposing 
residence. A considerable store of provisions was found 
both at Gizeh and at Embabeh, and the soldiers could 
make amends for their long privations. No sooner had 
he settled in Cairo than he hastened to pursue the same 
policy which he had already adopted at Alexandria, and 
by which he hoped to gain the country. The essential 
point was to obtain from the sheikhs of the mosque of 
Jemil-Azar a declaration in favour of the French. It 
corresponded to a papal bull among Christians. On this 
occasion Bonaparte exerted his utmost address, and was 
completely successful. The great sheikhs issued the de- 
sired declaration, and exhorted the Egyptians to submit 
to the envoy of God, who reverenced the Prophet, and 


who had come to deliver his children from the tyranny 
of the Mamluks. Bonaparte established a divan at Cairo, 
as he had done at Alexandria, composed of the principal 
sheikhs, and the most distinguished inhabitants. This 
divan, or municipal council, was intended to serve him 
in gaining the minds of the Egyptians, by consulting it, 
and learning from it all the details of the internal ad- 
ministration. It was agreed that similar assemblies 
should be established in all the provinces, and that these 
subordinate divans should send deputies to the divan of 
Cairo, which would thus be the great national divan. 

Bonaparte resolved to leave the administration of jus- 
tice to the cadis. In execution of his scheme of succeed- 
ing to the rights of the Mamluks, he seized their property, 
and caused the taxes previously imposed to continue to 
be levied for the benefit of the French army. For this 
purpose it was requisite that he should have the Kopts 
at his disposal. He omitted nothing to attach them to 
him, holding out hopes to them of an amelioration of 
their condition. He sent generals with detachments down 
the Nile to complete the occupation of the Delta, which 
the army had merely traversed, and sent others towards 
the Upper Nile, to take possession of Middle Egypt. 
Desaix was placed with a division at the entrance of 
Upper Egypt, which he was to conquer from Murad Bey, 
as soon as the waters of the Nile should subside in the 
autumn. Each of the generals, furnished with detailed 
instructions, was to repeat in the country what had been 
done at Alexandria and at Cairo. They were to court 
the sheikhs, to win the Kopts, and to establish the levy 


of the taxes in order to supply the wants of the army. 
Bonaparte was also attentive to keep up the relations 
with the neighbouring countries, in order to uphold and 
to appropriate to himself the rich commerce of Egypt. 
He appointed the Emir Hadgi, an officer annually chosen 
at Cairo, to protect the great caravan from Mecca. He 
wrote to all the French consuls on the coast of Barbary 
to inform the beys that the Emir Hadgi was appointed, 
and that the caravans might set out. At his desire the 
sheikhs wrote to the sherif of Mecca, to acquaint him that 
the pilgrims would be protected, and that the caravans 
would find safety and protection. The pasha of Cairo 
had followed Ibraham Bey to Belbeys. Bonaparte wrote 
to him, as well as to the several pashas of St. Jean d'Acre 
and Damascus, to assure them of the good disposition 
of the French towards the Sublime Porte. The Arabs 
were struck by the character of the young conqueror. 
They could not comprehend how it was that the mortal 
who wielded the thunderbolt should be so merciful. They 
called him the worthy son of the Prophet, the favourite 
of the great Allah, and sang in the great mosque a litany 
in his praise. 

Napoleon, in carrying out his policy of conciliating 
the natives, was present at the Nile festival, which is 
one of the greatest in Egypt. It was on the 18th of 
August that this festival was held. Bonaparte had or- 
dered the whole army to be under arms, and had drawn 
it up on the banks of the canal. An immense concourse 
of people had assembled, who beheld with joy the brave 
man of the West attending their festivals. 


It was by such means that the young general, as pro- 
found a politician as he was a great captain, contrived 
to ingratiate himself with the people. While he flattered 
their prejudices for the moment, he laboured to diffuse 
among them the light of science by the creation of the 
celebrated Institute of Egypt. He collected the men of 
science and the artists whom he had brought with him, 
and, associating with them some of the best educated of 
his officers, established the institute, to which he appro- 
priated a revenue and one of the most spacious palaces 
in Cairo. 

The conquest of the provinces of Lower and Middle 
Egypt had been effected without difficulty, and had cost 
only a few skirmishes with the Arabs. A forced march 
upon Belbeys had been sufficient to drive Ibrahim Bey 
into Syria, where Desaix awaited the autumn for wrest- 
ing Upper Egypt from Murad Bey, who had retired 
thither with the wrecks of his army. 

Fortune was, meanwhile, preparing for Bonaparte the 
most terrible of all reverses. On leaving Alexandria, he 
had earnestly recommended to Admiral Brueys to secure 
his squadron from the English, either by taking it into 
the harbour of Alexandria, or by proceeding with it to 
Corfu; and he had particularly enjoined him not to leave 
it in the road of Abukir, for it was much better to fall 
in with an enemy when under sail than to receive him 
at anchor. A warm discussion had arisen on the question 
whether the ships of 80 and 120 guns could be car- 
ried into the harbour of Alexandria. As to the smaller 
ships, there was no doubt; but the larger would re- 


quire lightening so much as to enable them to draw three 
feet less water. For this purpose it would be necessary 
to take out their guns, or to construct floats. On such 
conditions, Admiral Brueys resolved not to take his 
squadron into the harbour. The time which he spent, 
either in sounding the channels to the harbour, or in 
waiting for news from Cairo, caused his own destruction. 

Admiral Brueys was moored in the road of Abukir. 
This road is a very regular semicircle, and his thirteen 
ships formed a line parallel to the shore, and so disposed 
that he believed no British ship could pass between him 
and the shore, if an attack were made. 

Nelson, after visiting the Archipelago, and returning 
to the Adriatic, Naples, and Sicily, had at length ob- 
tained the certain knowledge of the landing of the French 
at Alexandria. He immediately steered in that direction 
in order to seek and put to flight their squadron. He sent 
a frigate to look out for it, and to reconnoitre its position. 
The English frigate, having made her observations, re- 
joined Nelson, who, being informed of all the particulars, 
immediately stood in for Abukir, and arrived there 
August 1, 1798, at about six o'clock in the evening. Ad- 
miral Brueys was at dinner. He immediately ordered the 
signal for battle to be given; but so unprepared was the 
squadron to receive the enemy, that the hammocks were 
not stowed away on board any of the ships, and part of 
the crews were on shore. The admiral despatched officers 
to send the seamen on board, and to demand part of those 
who were in the transports. He had no conception that 
Nelson would dare to attack him the same evening, and 









(— i 








conceived that he should have time to receive the rein- 
forcements for which he had applied. 

Nelson resolved to attack immediately, and to push 
in between the French ships and the shore at all hazards. 
" Before this time to-morrow/ ' said he, "I shall have 
gained a peerage or Westminster Abbey." r 

The number of vessels was equal on both sides, 
namely, thirteen ships of war. The engagement lasted 
upwards of fifteen hours. All the crews performed prod- 
igies of valour. The brave Captain Du Petit-Thouars 
had two of his limbs shot off. He ordered snuff to be 
brought him, and remained on his quarter-deck, and, like 
Brueys, waited till a cannon-ball despatched him. The 
entire French squadron, excepting the two ships and two 
frigates carried off by Villeneuve, was destroyed. Nel- 
son had suffered so severely that he could not pursue 
the fugitives. Such was the famous battle of Abukir, 
the most disastrous that the French had ever sustained, 
and involved the most far-reaching consequences. The 
fleet which had carried the French to Egypt, which might 
have served to succour or to recruit them, which was to 
second their movements on the coast of Syria,— had there 
been any to execute,— which was to overawe the Porte, 
to force it to put up with false reasoning, and to oblige 
it to wink at the invasion of Egypt, which finally, in case 
of reverses, was to convey the French back to their coun- 
try,— that fleet was destroyed. The French ships were 
burned. The news of this disaster spread rapidly in 
Egypt, and for a moment filled the army with despair. 
Bonaparte received the tidings with imperturbable com- 


posure. " Well," he said, " we must die in this country, 
or get out of it as great as the ancients." He wrote to 
Kleber: " This will oblige us to do greater things than 
we intended. We must hold ourselves in readiness." 
The great soul of Kleber was worthy of this language: 
" Yes," replied Kleber, " we must do great things. I 
am preparing my faculties." The courage of these men 
supported the army, and restored its confidence. 

Bonaparte strove to divert the thoughts of the soldiers 
by various expeditions, and soon made them forget this 
disaster. On the festival of the foundation of the repub- 
lic, he endeavoured to give a new stimulus to their imag- 
ination; he engraved on Pompey's Pillar the names of the 
first forty soldiers slain in Egypt. They were the forty 
who had fallen in the attack on Alexandria; and the 
names of these men, sprung from the villages of France, 
were thus associated with the immortality of Pompey 
and Alexander. 

Bonaparte, after the battle of the Pyramids, found 
himself master of Egypt. He began to establish himself 
there, and sent his generals into the provinces to complete 
their conquest. Desaix, placed at the entrance of Upper 
Egypt with a division of about three thousand men, w T as 
directed to reduce the remnants of Murad Bey's force in 
that province. It was in the preceding year (October, 
1798), at the moment when the inundation was over, that 
Desaix had commenced his expedition. The enemy had 
retired before him, and did not wait for him till he reached 
Sediman; there, on October 7th, Desaix fought a san- 
guinary battle with the desperate remainder of Murad 




Bey's forces. Two thousand French had to combat with 
four thousand Mamluks and eight thousand fellahs, in- 
trenched in the village of Sediman. The battle was con- 
ducted in the same manner as that of the Pyramids, and 
like all those fought in Egypt. The fellahs were behind 
the walls of the village, and the horse in the plain. The 
field of battle was thickly strewn with slain. The French 
lost three hundred men. Desaix continued his march 
during the whole winter, and, after a series of actions, 
reduced Upper Egypt as far as the cataracts. He made 
himself equally feared for his bravery and beloved for 
his clemency. In Cairo, Bonaparte had been named 
Sultan Kebir, the Fire Sultan. In Upper Egypt, Desaix 
was called the " Just Sultan." 

Bonaparte had meanwhile marched to Belbeys, to 
drive Ibrahim Bey into Syria, and he had collected by 
the way the wrecks of the caravan of Mecca, plundered by 
the Arabs. Returning to Cairo, he continued to estab- 
lish there an entirely French administration. Thus 
passed the winter between 1798 and 1799 in the expecta- 
tion of important events. During this interval, Bona- 
parte received intelligence of the declaration of war by 
the Porte, and of the preparations which it was making 
against him with the aid of the English. Two armies 
were being formed, one at Rhodes, the other in Syria. 
These two armies were to act simultaneously in the spring 
of 1799, the one by landing at Abukir near Alexandria, 
the other by crossing the desert which separates Syria 
from Egypt. Bonaparte was instantly aware of his posi- 
tion, and determined, as was his custom, to disconcert 



the enemy and to forestall any offensive movement by 
a sudden attack. He could not cross the desert which 
parts Egypt from Syria in summer, and he resolved to 


avail himself of the winter for destroying the assemblages 
of troops forming at Acre, at Damascus, and in the prin- 
cipal towns. Djezzar, the celebrated pasha of Acre, was 
appointed seraskier of the army collected in Syria. Abd 
Allah Pasha of Damascus commanded its advanced-guard, 


and had proceeded as far as the fort of El Arish, which 
is the key to Egypt on the side next to Syria. Bona- 
parte resolved to act immediately. He was in communica- 
tion with the tribes of the Lebanon. The Druses, Chris- 
tian tribes, the Mutualis, and schismatic Muhammedans 
offered him assistance, and ardently wished for his com- 
ing. By a sudden assault on Jaffa, Acre, and some other 
badly fortified places, he might in a short time gain pos- 
session of Syria, add this fine conquest to that of Egypt, 
make himself master of the Euphrates, as he was of the 
Nile, and thus command all the communications with 

Bonaparte commenced his march very early in Feb- 
ruary at the head of Kleber's, Regnier's, Lannes's, Bon's, 
and Murat's divisions, about thirteen thousand strong. 
He arrived before the fort El Arish on February 15th, 
and, after a slight resistance, the garrison surrendered 
themselves prisoners, to the number of thirteen hundred 
men. Ibrahim Bey, having attempted to relieve it, was 
put to flight, and, after a severe march across the desert, 
they reached Gaza. They took that place in the sight of 
Djezzar Pasha, and found there, as in the fort of El 
Arish, a great quantity of ammunition and provisions. 
From Gaza the army proceeded to Jaffa (the ancient 
Joppa), where it arrived on March 3rd. This place was 
surrounded by a massive wall, flanked by towers, and 
it contained a garrison of four thousand men. Bonaparte 
caused a breach to be battered in the wall, and then sum- 
moned the commandant, who only answered by cutting 
off the head of the messenger. The assault was made, 


and the place stormed with extraordinary intrepidity, 
and given up for thirty hours to pillage and massacre. 
Here, too, was found a considerable quantity of artillery 
and supplies of all kinds. There were some thousands of 
prisoners, whom the general could not despatch to Egypt, 
because he had not the ordinary means for escorting them, 
and he would not send them back to the enemy to swell 
their ranks. Bonaparte decided on a terrible measure, 
the most cruel act of his life. Transported into a bar- 
barous country, he had adopted its manners, and he or- 
dered all the prisoners to be put to death. The army 
consummated with obedience, but with a sort of horror, 
the execution that was commanded. 

Bonaparte then advanced upon St. Jean d'Acre, the 
ancient Ptolemais, situated at the foot of Mount Carmel. 
It was the only place that could now stop him. If he 
could make himself master of this fortress, Syria would 
be his. But the ferocious Djezzar had shut himself up 
there, with all his wealth and a strong garrison, and he 
also reckoned upon supportfrom Sir Sidney Smith, then 
cruising off that coast, who supplied him with engineers, 
artillerymen, and ammunition. It was probable, more- 
over, that he would be soon relieved by the Turkish army 
collected in Syria, which was advancing from Damascus 
to cross the Jordan. Bonaparte hastened to attack the 
place, in hopes of taking it, as he had done Jaffa, before 
it was reinforced with fresh troops, and before the Eng- 
lish had time to improve its defences. The trenches were 
immediately opened. The siege artillery sent by sea from 
Alexandria had been intercepted by Sir Sidney Smith, 


who captured seven vessels out of the nine. A breach 
was effected, and dispositions were made for the assault, 
but the men were stopped by a counterscarp and a ditch. 
They immediately set about mining. The operation was 
carried on under the fire of all the ramparts, and of the 
fine artillery which Sir Sidney Smith had taken from the 
French. The mine was exploded on April 17th, and blew 
up only a portion of the counterscarp. Unluckily for the 
French, the place had received a reinforcement of sev- 
eral thousand men, a great number of gunners trained 
after the European fashion, and immense supplies. It 
was a siege on a large scale to be carried on with thir- 
teen thousand men, almost entirely destitute of artillery. 
It was necessary to open a new mine to blow up the entire 
counterscarp, and to commence another covered way. 

Bonaparte now ordered Kleber 's division to oppose 
the passage of the Jordan by the army coming from 
Damascus. The enemy was commanded by Abd Allah 
Pasha of Damascus, and numbered about twenty-five 
thousand men and twelve thousand horse. A desperate 
battle was fought in the plain of Fouli, and for six hours 
Kleber, with scarcely three thousand infantry in square, 
resisted the utmost fury of the Turkish cavalry. Bona- 
parte, who had been making a rapid march to join Kleber, 
suddenly made his appearance on the field of battle. A 
tremendous fire, discharged instantaneously from the 
three points of this triangle, assailed the Mamluks who 
were in the midst, drove them in confusion upon one 
another, and made them flee in disorder in all directions. 
Kleber's division, fired with fresh ardour at this sight, 


rushed upon the village of Fouli, stormed it at the point 
of the bayonet, and made a great carnage among the 
enemy. In a moment the whole multitude was gone, and 
the plain was left covered with dead. During this inter- 
val the besiegers had never ceased mining and counter- 
mining about the walls of St. Jean d'Acre. The siege 
of Acre lasted for sixty-five days. Bonaparte made eight 
desperate but ineffectual assaults upon the city, which 
were repulsed by eleven furious sallies on the part of the 
besieged garrison. It was absolutely necessary to relin- 
quish the enterprise. The strategic point in the East was 

For two months the army had been before Acre; it 
had sustained considerable losses, and it would have been 
imprudent to expose it to more. The plague was in Acre, 
and the army had caught the contagion at Jaffa. The 
season for landing troops approached, and the arrival of 
a Turkish army near the mouths of the Nile was expected. 
By persisting longer, Bonaparte was liable to weaken 
himself to such a degree as not to be able to repulse new 
enemies. The main point of his plan was effected, since 
he had rendered the enemy in that quarter incapable of 
acting. He now commenced his march to recross the 

Bonaparte at length reached Egypt after an expe- 
dition of nearly three months. It was high time for him 
to return; for the spirit of insurrection had spread 
throughout the whole Delta. His presence produced 
everywhere submission and tranquillity. He gave orders 
for magnificent festivities at Cairo to celebrate his tri- 


umphs in Syria. He had to curb not only the inhabitants, 
but his own generals and the army itself. A deep discon- 
tent pervaded it. They had been for a whole year in 
Egypt. It was now the month of June, and they were 
still ignorant of what was passing in Europe, and of the 
disasters of France. They merely knew that the Conti- 
nent was in confusion, and that a new war was inevitable. 
Bonaparte impatiently waited for further particulars, 
that he might decide what course to pursue, and return, 
in case of need, to the first theatre of his exploits. But 
he hoped first to destroy the second Turkish army assem- 
bled at Rhodes, the very speedy landing of which was 

This army, put on board numerous transports and es- 
corted by Sir Sidney Smith's squadron, appeared on July 
11th in sight of Alexandria, and came to anchor in the 
road of Abukir, where the French squadron had been 
destroyed. The point chosen by the English for landing 
was the peninsula which commands the entrance to the 
road, and bears the same name. The Turks landed with 
great boldness, attacked the intrenchments sword in 
hand, carried them, and made themselves masters of the 
village of Abukir, putting to death the garrison. The 
village being taken, it was impossible for the fort to hold 
out, and it was obliged to surrender. Marmont, who com- 
manded at Alexandria, left the city at the head of twelve 
hundred men to hasten to the assistance of the troops at 
Abukir. But, learning that the Turks had landed in con- 
siderable numbers, he did not dare to attempt to throw 
them into the sea by a bold attack, and returned to Alex- 


andria, leaving them to establish themselves quietly in 
the peninsula of Abukir. 

The Turks amounted to nearly eighteen thousand in- 
fantry. They had no cavalry, for they had not brought 
more than three hundred horses, but they expected the 
arrival of Murad Bey, who was to leave Upper Egypt, 
skirt the desert, cross the oases, and throw himself into 
Abukir with two or three thousand Mamluks. 

When Bonaparte was informed of the particulars of 
the landing, he immediately left Cairo, and made from 
that city to Alexandria one of those extraordinary 
marches of which he had given so many examples in 
Italy. He took with him the divisions of Lannes, Bon, 
and Murat. He had ordered Desaix to evacuate Upper 
Egypt, and Kleber and Regnier, who were in the Delta, 
to approach Abukir. He had chosen the point of Birket, 
midway between Alexandria and Abukir, at which to con- 
centrate his forces, and to manoeuvre according to cir- 
cumstances. He was afraid that an English army had 
landed with the Turks. The next day, the 7th, he was 
at the entrance of the peninsula. 

Bonaparte made his dispositions with his usual promp- 
titude and decision. He ordered General D'Estaing, with 
§ome battalions, to march to the hill on the left, where 
the one thousand Turks were posted; Lannes to march 
to that on the right, where the two thousand others were.; 
and Murat, who was at the centre, to make the cavalry 
file on the rear of the two hills. D'Estaing marched to 
the hill on the left and boldly ascended it: Murat caused 
it to be turned by a squadron. The Turks, at sight of 
















this, quitted their post, and fell in with the cavalry, which 
cut them to pieces, and drove them into the sea, into which 
they chose rather to throw themselves than to surrender. 
Precisely the same thing was done on the right. Lannes 
attacked the two thousand janizaries; Murat turned 
them, cut them in pieces, and drove them into the sea. 
D'Estaing and Lannes then moved towards the centre, 
formed by a village, and attacked it in front. The Turks 
there defended themselves bravely, reckoning upon as- 
sistance from the second line. A column did in fact ad- 
vance from the camp of Abukir; but Murat, who had 
already filed upon the rear of the village, fell sword in 
hand upon this column, and drove it back into Abukir. 
D'Estaing ? s infantry and that of Lannes entered the vil- 
lage at the charge step, driving the Turks out of it, who 
were pushed in all directions, and who, obstinately refus- 
ing to surrender, had no retreat but the sea, in which 
they were drowned. 

From four to five thousand had already perished in 
this manner. The first line was carried: Bonaparte's 
object was accomplished. He immediately followed up 
his success with desperate fighting to complete his vic- 
tory on the moment. The Turks, affrighted, fled on all 
sides, and a horrible carnage was made among them. 
They were pursued at the point of the bayonet and thrust 
into the sea. More than twelve thousand corpses were 
floating in the bay of Abukir, and two or three thousand 
more had perished by the fire or by the sword. The rest, 
shut up in the fort, had no rescue but the clemency of 
the conqueror. Such was that extraordinary battle in 


which a hostile army was entirely destroyed. Thus, 
either by the expedition to Syria, or by the battle of 
Abukir, Egypt was delivered, at least for a time, from 
the forces of the Porte. 

Having arrived in the summer before the inundation, 
Bonaparte had employed the first moments in gaining 
possession of Alexandria and the capital, which he had 
secured by the battle of the Pyramids. In the autumn, 
after the inundation, he had completed the conquest of 
the Delta, and consigned that of Upper Egypt to Desaix. 
In the winter h£ had undertaken the expedition to Syria, 
and destroyed Djezzar's Turkish army at Mount Tabor. 
He had now, in the second summer, just destroyed the 
second army of the Porte at Abukir. The time had thus 
been well spent; and, while Victory was forsaking in 
Europe the banners of France, she adhered to them in 
Africa and Asia. The tricolour waved triumphant over 
the Nile and the Jordan, and over the places which were 
the cradle of the Christian religion. 

Bonaparte was as yet ignorant of what was passing 
in Prance. None of the despatches from the Directory 
or from his brothers had reached him, and he was a prey 
to the keenest anxiety. With a view to obtaining some 
intelligence, he ordered brigs to cruise about, to stop all 
merchantmen, and to gain from them information of the 
occurrences in Europe. He sent to the Turkish fleet a 
flag of truce, which, under the pretext of negotiating 
an exchange of prisoners, was for the purpose of obtain- 
ing news. Sir Sidney Smith stopped this messenger, 
treated him exceedingly well, and, perceiving that Bona- 


parte was ignorant of the disasters of France, took a 
spiteful pleasure in sending him a packet of newspapers. 
The messenger returned and delivered the packet to 
Bonaparte. The latter spent the whole night in devouring 
the contents of those papers, and informing himself of 
what was passing in his own country. His determination 
was immediately taken, and he resolved to embark se- 
cretly for Europe, and on August 22nd, taking with him 
Berthier, Lannes, Murat, Andreossy, Marmont, Ber- 
thollet, and Monge, and escorted by some of his guides, 
he proceeded to a retired spot on the beach, where boats 
were awaiting them. They got into them and went on 
board the frigates, La Muiron and La Carrere. They set 
sail immediately, that by daylight they might be out of 
sight of the English cruisers. Unfortunately it fell calm; 
fearful of being surprised, some were for returning to 
Alexandria, but Bonaparte resolved to proceed. " Be 
quiet," said he, " we shall pass in safety." Like Caesar, 
he reckoned upon his fortune. Menou, who alone had 
been initiated into the secret, made known in Alexandria 
the departure of General Bonaparte, and the appoint- 
ment which he had made of General Kleber to succeed 
him. This intelligence caused a painful surprise through- 
out the army. The most opprobrious epithets were ap- 
plied to this departure. They did not consider that irre- 
sistible impulse of patriotism and ambition, which, on 
the news of the disasters of the Republic, had urged him 
to return to France. They perceived only the forlorn 
state in which he had left the unfortunate army, which 
had felt sufficient confidence in his genius to follow him. 



Kleber was not fond of General Bonaparte, and endured 
his ascendency with a sort of impatience, and now he 
was sorry that he had quitted the banks of the Rhine 


for the banks of the Nile. The chief command did not 
counterbalance the necessity of remaining in Egypt, for 
he took no pleasure in commanding. 


Kleber, however, was the most popular of the gen- 
erals among the soldiery. His name was hailed by them 
with entire confidence, and somewhat cheered them for 
the loss of the illustrious commander who had just left 
them. He returned to Cairo, assumed the command with 
a sort of ostentation, and took possession of the fine 
Arabian mansion which his predecessor had occupied in 
the Ezbekieh Place. But it was not long before the 
solicitudes of the chief command, which were insupport- 
able to him, the new dangers with which the Turks and 
the English threatened Egypt, and the grief of exile, 
which was general, filled his soul with the most gloomy 

Kleber, together with Poussielgue, the administrator 
of the army, at once prepared and addressed despatches 
to the Directory, placing the condition of the troops, the 
finances, and the number of the enemy in the most melan- 
choly light. These despatches fell into the hands of the 
English, and the duplicate reports found their way into 
the hands of Bonaparte himself. Bonaparte had left in- 
structions with Kleber to meet every possible contin- 
gency during his absence, even to the necessity of an 
evacuation of Egypt. " I am going to France,' ' said he, 
" either as a private man or as a public man; I will get 
reinforcement sent to you. But if by next spring (he was 
writing in August, 1799) you have received no supplies, 
no instructions; if the plague has carried off more than 
fifteen hundred men, independently of losses by war; if 
a considerable force, which you should be incapable of 
resisting, presses you hard, negotiate with the vizier: 


consent even, if it must be so, to an evacuation; sub- 
ject to one condition, that of referring to the French gov- 
ernment; and meanwhile continue to occupy. You will 
thus have gained time, and it is impossible that, during 
the interval, you should not have received succour." 

The instructions were very sound; but the case fore- 
seen was far from being realised at the time when Kleber 
determined to negotiate for the evacuation of Egypt. 
Murad Bey, disheartened, was a fugitive in Upper Egypt 
with a few Mamluks. Ibrahim Bey, who, under the gov- 
ernment of the Mamluks, shared the sovereignty with 
him, was then in Lower Egypt towards the frontier of 
Syria. He had four hundred horse. Djezzar Pasha was 
shut up in St. Jean d'Acre, and, so far from preparing 
a reinforcement of men for the army of the grand vizier, 
he viewed, on the contrary, with high displeasure, the 
approach of a fresh Turkish army, now that his pashalik 
was delivered from the French. As for the grand vizier, 
he was not yet across the Taurus. The English had their 
troops at Mahon, and were not at this moment aggressive. 
At Kleber 's side was General Menou, who viewed every- 
thing under the most favourable colours, and believed 
the French to be invincible in Egypt, and regarded the 
expedition as the commencement of a near and momen- 
tous revolution in the commerce of the world. Kleber 
and Menou were both honest, upright men; but one 
wanted to leave Egypt, the other to stay in it; the clear- 
est and most authentic returns conveyed to them totally 
contrary significations; misery and ruin to one, abun- 
dance and success to the other. 


In September, 1799, Desaix, having completed the 
conquest and subjugation of Upper Egypt, had left two 
movable columns for the pursuit of Murad Bey, to whom 
he had offered peace on condition of his becoming a vas- 
sal of Prance. He then returned to Cairo by the order 
of Kleber, who wished to make use of his name in those 
negotiations into which he was about to enter. During 
these proceedings, the army of the grand vizier, so long 
announced, was slowly advancing. Sir Sidney Smith, 
who convoyed with his squadron the Turkish troops des- 
tined to be transported by sea, had just arrived off Dami- 
etta with eight thousand janizaries, and on the first of 
November, 1799, the landing of the first division of four 
thousand janizaries was effected. At the first tidings 
of this disembarkation, Kleber had despatched Desaix 
with a column of three thousand men; but the latter, 
uselessly sent to Damietta, had found the victory won,— 
the Turkish division having been completely destroyed 
by General Verdier,— and the French filled with un- 
bounded confidence. This brilliant achievement ought 
to have served to encourage Kleber; unfortunately, he 
was swayed at once by his own lack of confidence and 
that of the army. In this disposition of mind, Kleber 
had sent one of his officers to the vizier (who had entered 
Syria), to make new overtures of peace. General Bona- 
parte, with a view to embroiling the vizier with the Eng- 
lish, had previously entertained the idea of setting on 
foot negotiations, which, on his part, were nothing more 
than a feint. His overtures had been received with great 
distrust and pride. Kleber 's advances met with a favour- 


able reception, through the influence of Sir Sidney Smith, 
who was preparing to play a prominent part in the 
affairs of Egypt. This officer had largely contributed 
to prevent the success of the siege of St. Jean d'Acre; 
he was proud of it, and had devised a rase de guerre by 
taking advantage of a momentary weakness to wrest 
from the French their valuable conquest. With this 
view, he had disposed the grand vizier to listen to the 
overtures of Kleber. Kleber, on his part, despatched 
Desaix and Poussielgue as negotiators to Sir Sidney 
Smith; for, since the English were masters of the sea, he 
wished to induce them to take part in the negotiation, so 
that the return to Prance might be rendered possible. Sir 
Sidney manifested a disposition to enter into arrange- 
ments, acting as " Minister Plenipotentiary of His 
Britannic Majesty," and attributing to himself a power 
which he had ceased to hold since the arrival of Lord 
Elgin as ambassador at Constantinople. Poussielgue 
was an advocate for evacuation; Desaix just the reverse. 
The conditions proposed by Kleber were unreason- 
able: not that they were an exorbitant equivalent for 
what was given up in giving up Egypt, but because they 
were not feasible. Sir Sidnev made Kleber sensible of 
this. Officers treating for a mere suspension of arms 
could not include topics of vast extent in their nego- 
tiation, such as the demand for the possession of the 
Venetian Islands, and the annulment of the Triple Alli- 
ance. But it was urgently necessary to settle two points 
immediately: the departure of the wounded and of the 
scientific men attached to the expedition, for whom De- 


saix solicited safe-conduct; and secondly, a suspension 
of arms, for the army of the grand vizier, though march- 
ing slowly, would soon be in presence of the French. It 
had actually arrived before the fort of El Arish, the first 
French post on the frontiers of Syria, and had summoned 
it to surrender. The negotiations, in fact, had been going 
on for a fortnight on board Le Tigre, while floating at 
the pleasure of the winds off the coasts of Syria and 
Egypt: the parties had said all they had to say, and the 
negotiations could not be continued to any useful pur- 
pose without the concurrence of the grand vizier. Sir 
Sidney, availing himself of a favourable moment, pushed 
off in a boat which landed him on the coast, after in- 
curring some danger, and ordered the captain of Le Tigre 
to meet him in the port of Jaffa, where Poussielgue and 
Desaix were to be put ashore, if the conferences were to 
be transferred to the camp of the grand vizier. 

At the moment when the English commodore reached 
the camp, a horrible event had occurred at El Arish. 
The grand vizier had collected around him an army of 
seventy or eighty thousand fanatic Mussulmans. The 
Turks were joined by the Mamluks. Ibrahim Bey, who 
had some time before retired to Syria, and Murad Bey, 
who had descended by a long circuit from the cataracts 
to the environs of Suez, had become the auxiliaries of 
their former adversaries. The English had made for this 
army a sort of field-artillery, drawn by mules. The fort 
of El Arish, before which the Turks were at this moment, 
was, according to the declaration of General Bonaparte, 
one of the two keys of Egypt; Alexandria was the other. 



The Turkish advanced-guard having reached El Arish, 
Colonel Douglas, an English officer in the service of 


,li illllH l^'l ill! PI EIMimwii ! nii ,i i | ffPl , i:!iiiih. 

«li r ■ i ik 

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Turkey, summoned Cazals, the commandant, to surren- 
der. The culpable sentiments which the officers had too 


much encouraged in the army then burst forth. The sol- 
diers in the garrison at El Arish, vehemently longing, like 
their comrades, to leave Egypt, declared to the command- 
ant that they would not fight, and that he must make up 
his mind to surrender the fort. The gallant Cazals indig- 
nantly refused, and a struggle with the Turks ensued. 
During this contest, the recreants, who insisted on sur- 
rendering, threw ropes to the Turks; these ferocious 
enemies, once hoisted up into the fort, rushed, sword in 
hand, upon those who had given them admission into the 
fort, and slaughtered a great number of them. The 
others, brought back to reason, joined the rest of the gar- 
rison, and, defending themselves with desperate courage, 
were most of them killed. A small number obtained 
quarter, thanks to that humane and distinguished officer, 
Colonel Douglas. 

It was now the 30th of December: the letter written 
by Sir Sidney Smith to the grand vizier, to propose to 
him a suspension of arms, had not reached him in time 
to prevent the melancholy catastrophe at El Arish. Sir 
Sidney Smith was a man of generous feelings: this bar- 
barous massacre of a French garrison horrified him, and, 
above all, it made him fearful of the rupture of the nego- 
tiations. He lost no time in sending explanations to 
Kleber, both in his own name and that of the grand 
vizier, and he added the formal assurance that all hos- 
tility should cease during the negotiations. 

Kleber, when informed of the massacre of El Arish, 
did not manifest as much indignation as he ought to have 
done; he was aware that, if he was too warm upon that 


subject, all the negotiations might be broken off. He 
was more urgent than ever for a suspension of arms; and, 
at the same time, by way of precaution, and to be nearer 
to the theatre of the conferences, he left Cairo, and trans- 
ferred his headquarters to Salahieh, on the very border 
of the desert, two days' march from El Arish. 

In the meantime, Desaix and Poussielgue, detained by 
contrary winds, had not been able to land at Gaza till 
the 11th, and to reach El Arish before the 13th. 

The evacuation and its conditions soon became the 
sole subject of negotiation. After long discussions it 
was agreed that all hostility should cease for three 
months; that those three months should be employed 
by the vizier in collecting, in the ports of Rosetta, Abukir, 
and Alexandria, the vessels requisite for the conveyance 
of the French army; by General Kleber, in evacuating 
the Upper Nile, Cairo, and the contiguous provinces, and 
in concentrating his troops about the point of embarka- 
tion; that the French should depart with the honours 
of war; that they should cfease to impose contributions; 
but that, in return, the French army should receive three 
thousand purses, equivalent at that time to three million 
francs, and representing the sum necessary for its sub- 
sistence during the evacuation and the passage. The 
forts of Katieh, Salahieh, and the Belbeys, forming the 
frontier of Egypt towards the desert of Syria, were to 
be given up ten days after the ratification; Cairo forty 
days after. 

The terms of the convention being arranged, there 
was nothing more to be done but sign it. Kleber, who 


had a vague feeling of his fault, determined, in order 
to cover it, to assemble a council of war, to which all the 
generals of the army were summoned. The council met 
on the 21st of January, 1800. The minutes of it still 
exist. Desaix, although deeply grieved, was swept along 
by the torrent of popular opinion, gave way to it himself, 
and affixed his signature on the 28th of January to the 
convention of El Arish. 

Meanwhile preparations were being made for depar- 
ture; Sir Sidney Smith had returned to his ship. The 
vizier advanced and took possession, consecutively, of 
the entrenched positions of Katieh, Salahieh, and Bel- 
beys, which Kleber, in haste to execute the convention, 
faithfully delivered up to him. Kleber returned to Cairo 
to make his preparations for departure, to call in the 
troops that were guarding Upper Egypt, to concentrate 
his army, and then to direct it upon Alexandria and 
Rosetta at the time stipulated for embarkation. 

While these events were occurring in Egypt, the Eng- 
lish cabinet had received advice of the overtures made 
by General Kleber to the grand vizier and to Sir Sidney 
Smith. Believing that the French army was reduced to 
the last extremity, it lost no time in sending off an ex- 
press order not to grant any capitulation unless they 
surrendered themselves prisoners of war. These orders, 
despatched from London on the 17th of December, 
reached Admiral Keith in the island of Minorca in the 
first days of January, 1800; and, on the 8th of the same 
month, the admiral hastened to forward to Sir Sidney 
Smith the instructions which he had just received from 


the government. He lost no time in writing to Kleber, 
to express his mortification, to apprise him honestly of 
what was passing, to advise him to suspend immediately 
the delivery of the Egyptian fortresses to the grand 
vizier, and to conjure him to wait for fresh orders from 
England before he took any definite resolutions. Un- 
fortunately, when these advices from Sir Sidney arrived 
at Cairo, the French army had already executed in part 
the treaty of El Arish. 

Kleber instantly countermanded all the orders pre- 
viously given to the army. He brought back from Lower 
Egypt to Cairo part of the troops that had already de- 
scended the Nile; he ordered his stores to be sent up 
again; he urged the division of Upper Egypt to make 
haste to rejoin him, and gave notice to the grand vizier 
to suspend his march towards Cairo, otherwise he should 
immediately commence hostilities. The grand vizier re- 
plied that the convention of El Arish was signed; that 
it must be executed; that, in consequence, he should ad- 
vance towards the capital. At the same instant, an officer 
sent from Minorca with a letter from Lord Keith to 
Kleber, arrived at the headquarters. Kleber, fired with 
indignation at the demand for surrender, caused Lord 
Keith's letter to be inserted in the order of the day, add- 
ing to it these few words: " Soldiers, to such insults 
there is no other answer than victory. Prepare for 
action.' f 

Agents from Sir Sidney had hastened up to interpose 
between the French and the Turks, and to make fresh 
proposals of accommodation. Letters, they said, had 


just been written to London, and, when the convention 
of El Arish was known there, it would be ratified to a 
certainty; in this situation, it would not be right to sus- 
pend hostilities, and wait. To this the grand vizier and 
Kleber consented, but on conditions that were irrecon- 
cilable. The grand vizier insisted that Cairo should be 
given up to him; Kleber, on the contrary, that the vizier 
should fall back to the frontier. Under these conditions, 
fighting was the only resource. 

On the 20th of March, 1800, in the plain of Heliopolis, 
ten thousand soldiers, by superiority in discipline and 
courage, dispersed seventy or eighty thousand foes. 
Kleber gave orders for the pursuit on the following day. 
When he had ascertained with his own eyes that the 
Turkish army had disappeared, he resolved to return and 
reduce the towns of Lower Egypt, and Cairo in partic- 
ular, to their duty. 

He arrived at Cairo on the 27th of March. Important 
events had occurred there since his departure. The pop- 
ulation of that great city, which numbered nearly three 
hundred thousand inhabitants, fickle, inflammable, in- 
clined to change, had followed the suggestions of Turk- 
ish emissaries, and fallen upon the French the moment 
they heard the cannon at Heliopolis. Pouring forth out- 
side the walls during the battle, and seeing Nassif -Pasha 
and Ibrahim Bey, with some thousand horse and jani- 
zaries, they supposed them to be the conquerors. Taking 
good care not to undeceive the inhabitants, the Turks 
affirmed that the grand vizier had gained a complete 
victory, and that the French were exterminated. At 


these tidings, fifty thousand men had risen in Cairo, at 
Bulak, and at Gizeh, and Cairo became a scene of plunder, 
rapine, and murder. 

During these transactions, General Friant arrived, 
detached from Belbeys, and lastly Kleber himself. 
Though conqueror of the grand vizier's army, Kleber had 
a serious difficulty to surmount to subdue an immense 
city, peopled by three hundred thousand inhabitants, 
partly in a state of revolt, occupied by twenty thousand 
Turks, and built in the Oriental style; that is to say, 
having narrow streets, divided into piles of masonry, 
which were real fortresses. These edifices, receiving 
light from within, and exhibiting without nothing but 
lofty walls, had terraces instead of roofs, from which the 
insurgents poured a downward and destructive fire. Add 
to this that the Turks were masters of the whole city, 
excepting the citadel and the square of Ezbekieh, which, 
in a manner, they had blockaded by closing the streets 
that ran into it with embattled walls. 

In this situation, Kleber showed as much prudence 
as he had just shown energy in the field. He resolved 
to gain time, and to let the insurrection wear itself out. 
The insurgents could not fail at length to be undeceived 
respecting the general state of things in Egypt, and to 
learn that the French were everywhere victorious, and 
the vizier's army dispersed. Nassif -Pasha's Turks, Ib- 
rahim Bey's Mamluks, and the Arab population of Cairo 
could not agree together long. For all these reasons, 
Kleber thought it advisable to temporise and to nego- 







While he was gaining time, he completed his treaty 
of alliance with Murad Bey. He granted to him the 
province of Said, under the supremacy of France, on 
condition of paying a tribute equivalent to a consider- 
able part of the imposts of that province. Murad Bey 
engaged, moreover, to fight for the French; and the 
French engaged, if they should ever quit the country, 
to facilitate for him the occupation of Egypt. Murad 
Bey faithfully adhered to the treaty which he had just 
signed, and began by driving from Upper Egypt a Turk- 
ish corps which had occupied it. The insurgents of 
Cairo obstinately refused to capitulate, and an attack 
by main force was, therefore, indispensable for complet- 
ing the reduction of the city, during which several thou- 
sand Turks, Mamluks, and insurgents were killed, and 
four thousand houses were destroyed by fire. Thus ter- 
minated that sanguinary struggle, which had commenced 
with the battle of Heliopolis on the 20th of March, and 
which ended on the 25th of April with the departure of 
the last lieutenants of the vizier, after thirty-five days' 
fighting between twenty thousand French on one side, 
and, on the other, the whole force of the Ottoman empire, 
seconded by the revolt of the Egyptian towns. 

In the Delta all the towns had returned to a state 
of complete submission. Murad Bey had driven from 
Upper Egypt the Turkish detachment of Dervish Pasha. 
The vanquished everywhere trembled before the con- 
queror, and expected a terrible chastisement. Kleber, 
who was humane and wise, took good care not to repay 
cruelties with cruelties. The Egyptians were persuaded 


that they should be treated harshly; they conceived that 
the loss of life and property would atone for the crime 
of those who had risen in revolt. Kleber called them 
together, assumed at first a stern look, but afterwards 
pardoned them, merely imposing a contribution on the 
insurgent villages. Cairo paid ten million francs, a bur- 
den far from onerous for so large a city, and the inhab- 
itants considered themselves as most fortunate to get 
off so easily. Eight millions more were imposed upon 
the rebel towns of Lower Egypt. The army, proud of its 
victories, confident in its strength, knowing that General 
Bonaparte was at the head of the government, ceased to 
doubt that it would soon receive reinforcements. Kleber 
had in the plain of Heliopolis made the noblest amends 
for his momentary faults. 

He entered upon a second conquest, showing clemency 
and humanity on all sides, and everywhere he laboured 
hard to encourage the arts and industries and agricul- 
ture. He assembled the administrators of the army, the 
persons best acquainted with the country, and turned 
his attention to the organisation of the finances of the 
colony. He restored the collection of the direct contri- 
butions to the Kopts, to whom it had formerly been 
entrusted, and imposed some new customs' duties and 
taxes on articles of consumption. He gave orders for 
the completion of the forts constructing around Cairo, 
and set men to work at those of Lesbeh, Damietta, Burlos, 
and Rosetta, situated on the sea-coast. He pressed for- 
ward the works of Alexandria, and imparted fresh ac- 
tivity to the scientific researches of the Institute of 


Egypt, and a valuable mass of information was embodied 
in the great French work, the " Description de 
l'Egypte." From the cataracts to the mouths of the 
Nile, everything assumed the aspect of a solid and dur- 
able establishment. Two months afterwards, the car- 
avans of Syria, Arabia, and Darf ur began to appear again 
at Cairo. 

But a deplorable event snatched away General Kle- 
ber in the midst of his exploits and of his judicious 
government. He was assassinated in the garden of his 
palace by a young man, a native of Aleppo, named Sulei- 
man, who was a prey to extravagant fanaticism. 

With Kleber's death, Egypt was lost for France. 
Menou, who succeeded him, was very far beneath such 
a task. The English offered to make good the convention 
of El Arish, but Menou refused, and England prepared 
for an invasion, after attempting vainly to co-operate 
with the Turks. 

Sir Ralph Abercrombie, who had been appointed as 
British commissioner, landed with the English army 
alone at Abukir. After fierce skirmishing, the French 
and English met on the plains of Alexandria. In the 
frightful conflict which ensued, Sir Ralph Abercrombie 
was slain, but the battle ended with the retreat of the 
French. Damietta surrendered on April 19th. The 
French were now divided, while Menou hesitated. Gen- 
eral Hutchinson took the place of the deceased British 
commander. A great battle was fought at Cairo, which 
was won by the British, and the capital itself now fell 
into their hands. General Hutchinson then closed in upon 



Alexandria; and, after hard fighting, Menou at length 
surrendered. The French troops were allowed to return 
to France with all their belongings, except the artillery, 
August 27, 1801. 




Hehemet's rise to power : Massacre of the Mamluks : Invasion of the Morea : 
Battle of Navarino : Struggle with the Porte : Abbas Pasha, Muhammed 
Said, and Ismail Pasha : Ismail's lavish expenditure : Foreign bond- 
holders and the Dual Control. 

TjlROM the beginning of 
the eighteenth cen- 
tury, the destiny of Egypt 
was the destiny of one 
man; he aided the polit- 
ical movements, and accel- 
erated or retarded social 
activity; he swayed both 
commerce and agriculture, 
and organised the army to 
his liking; he was the heart 
and brain of this mysteri- 
ous country. Under the watchful eyes of Europe, atten- 
tive for more than forty years, this Macedonian soldier 
became the personification of the nation under his au- 
thority, and, in the main, the history of the country may 




be summed up in the biography of Mehemet Ali. If we 
consider the events of his life, and the diverse roads by 
which he reached the apogee of his fortunes, reviewing 
the scenes, now sombre, now magnificent, of that remark- 
able fate, we obtain a complete picture of Egypt itself, 
seen from the most intimate, real, and striking point of 

According to the most authentic accounts, Mehemet 
Ali was born in 1768 (a. h. 1182), at Cavala, a seaport 
in Turkey in Europe. He was yet very young when he 
lost his father, Ibrahim Agha, and soon after this mis- 
fortune, his uncle and sole remaining relative, Tussun- 
Agha, was beheaded by order of the Porte. Left an 
orphan, Mehemet Ali was adopted by the Tchorbadji of 
Praousta, an old friend of his father, who brought him 
up with his own son. The boy spent his early youth in 
the discharge of unimportant military duties, where, how- 
ever, he frequently found opportunity to display his 
intelligence and courage. He was even able to render 
many services to his protector in the collecting of taxes, 
which was always a difficult matter in Turkey, and occa- 
sionally necessitated a regular military expedition. 

Anxious to reward Mehemet for all his services, and 
also doubtless desirous of a still closer connection, the 
aged Tchorbadji married him to his daughter. This was 
the beginning of the young man's success; he was then 
eighteen years old. Dealings with a French merchant of 
Cavala had inspired him with a taste for commerce, and, 
devoting himself to it, he speculated with much success, 
chiefly in tobacco, the richest product of his country. 


This period of his life was not without its influence upon 
Egypt, for we know how strenuously the pasha endeav- 
oured to develop the commercial and manufacturing 

The French invasion surprised him in the midst of 
these peaceful occupations. The Porte, having raised 
an army in Macedonia, ordered the Tchorbadji to furnish 
a contingent of three hundred men, who entrusted the 
command of this small force to his son Ali Agha, appoint- 
ing Mehemet Ali, whose merit and courage he fully ap- 
preciated, as his lieutenant. The Macedonain recruits 
rejoined the forces of the pasha-captain, and landed with 
the grand vizier at Abukir, where was fought that battle 
which resulted in victory for France and the complete 
defeat of the sultan's army. Completely demoralised by 
this overthrow, Ali Agha left Mehemet Ali in command 
of his troops, and quitted the army. 

It is well to consider in a brief survey the state of 
the country at the moment when the incapacity of Gen- 
eral Menou compelled the French to withdraw from 
Egypt. Arrayed against each other were the troops of 
the sultan, numbering four thousand Albanians and those 
forces sent from England under the command of Admiral 
Keith, on one side; and on the other were the Mamluks 
striving for supremacy; and it was a question whether 
this powerful force would once more rule Egypt as before 
the French invasion, or whether the country would again 
fall under the dominion of the Porte. 

There was occasion for anxiety among the Mamluks 
themselves; their two principal beys, Osman-Bardisi and 


Muliammed el-Elfi, instead of strengthening their forces 
by acting in concert, as Murad Bey and Ibrahim Bey 
had done before the French occupation, permitted their 
rivalry for power so completely to absorb them that it 
was finally the means of encompassing their ruin and 
that of their party. 

The first pasha invested with the viceroyalty of Egypt 
after the departure of the French troops was Muhamined 
Khusurf, who faithfully served the Porte. His govern- 
ment was able and zealous, but the measures he employed 
against his haughty antagonists lacked the lofty intelli- 
gence indispensable to so difficult a task. Muhammed 
Khusurf, whose rivalry with Mehemet Ali had for some 
years attracted European attention, found himself at last 
face to face with his future opponent. 

Mehemet Ali, by dint of hard work and the many 
important services rendered to his country, had passed 
through successive stages of promotion to the rank of 
serchime, which gave him the command of three or four 
thousand Albanians. Foreseeing his opportunity, he had 
employed himself in secretly strengthening his influence 
over his subordinates; he allied himself with the Mam- 
luks, opened the gates of Cairo to them, and, joining 
Osman-Bardisi, marched against Khusurf. He pursued 
the viceroy to Damietta, taking possession of the town, 
conducted his prisoner to Cairo, where he placed him in 
the custody of the aged Ibrahim Bey, the Nestor of the 
Mamluks (1803). 

At this moment, the second Mamluk bey, Muhammed 
el-Elfi, returned from England, whither he had accom- 


parried the British to demand protection when they evac- 
uated Alexandria in March of the same year, and landed 
at Abukir. This arrival filled Bardisi with the gravest 
anxiety, for Muhammed el-Elfi was his equal in station, 
and would share his power even if he did not deprive 
him of the position he had recently acquired through his 
own efforts. These fears were but too well founded. 
Whilst Bardisi was securing his position by warfare, el- 
Elfi had gained the protection of England, and, as its 
price, had pledged himself to much that would com- 
promise the future of Egypt. 

Far from openly joining one or other of the rival 
parties, Mehemet Ali contented himself with fanning the 
flame of their rivalry. The rank of Albanian captain, 
which gave him the air of a subaltern, greatly facilitated 
the part he intended to play. He worked quietly and 
with unending perseverance. Flattering the ambitions of 
some, feeding the resentment of others, winning the weak- 
minded with soft words, overcoming the strong by his 
own strength; presiding over all the revolutions in Cairo, 
upholding the cause of the pashas when the Mamluks 
needed support, and, when the pasha had acquired a cer- 
tain amount of power, uniting himself with the Mamluk 
against his allies of yesterday; above all, neglecting noth- 
ing which could secure him the support of the people, 
and making use for this end of the sheikhs and Oulemas, 
whom he conciliated, some by religious appearances, oth- 
ers by his apparent desire for the public good, he thus 
maintained his position during the numerous changes 
brought about by the respective parties. 


At length, in the beginning of March, 1805, as the 
people were beginning to weary of disturbances as vio- 
lent as they were frequent, Mehemet ALL promised the 
sheikhs to restore peace and order if they would assure 
him their co-operation and influence. He then incited a 
revolt against the Oulemas, besieged Kourshyd Pasha in 
the citadel, made himself master of Cairo in the space 
of a few days, and finished his work by expelling the 
Mamluks. The Albanians and Oulemas, completely car- 
ried away by his valour and manoeuvres, proclaimed him 
pasha immediately. Always prudent, and anxious to 
establish his claims upon the favour of the Porte, Me- 
hemet Ali feigned to refuse. After considerable hesita- 
tion, which gave way before some costly gifts, or possi- 
bly on consideration of the difficulties hitherto experi- 
enced in establishing the authority of the pashas, the 
Turkish government determined to confirm the choice 
of the Egyptian people. Mehemet Ali received, there- 
fore, the firman of investiture on July 9, 1805 ; but during 
the ensuing seven months he governed in Lower Egypt 
only, Alexandria still being under the authority of an 
officer delegated by the sultan. As for Upper Egypt, 
it had remained the appanage of the Mamluk beys, who 
had contrived to retain possession of the Said. 

Mehemet Ali had no sooner been proclaimed than Elfi, 
who had reorganised his party in Upper Egypt, did all 
in his power to overthrow the new pasha. He first offered 
to assist Kourshyd to regain his former position; he 
promised his allegiance to the Porte on condition of the 
dismissal of Mehemet Ali, and then turned his attention 


to England. He found difficulty in obtaining her concur- 
rence by promising to give up the chief ports of Egypt. 
These negotiations, suspended the first time by M. Dro- 
vetti, the French consul at Alexandria, co-operating with 
the pasha, were again renewed some time after through 
the influence of the English ambassador, who, in the name 
of his country, demanded the re-establishment of the 
Mamluks, guaranteeing the fidelity of Elfi. The Porte 
at once sent a fleet to Egypt bearing a firman, appointing 
Mehemet Ali to the pashalic of Salonica. At this junc- 
ture, the viceroy, feeling sure of the support of the 
sheikhs, who had assisted him to his present position, 
only sought to temporise. He soon received the further 
support of the Mamluk beys of Bardisi's party, who for- 
got their personal grievances in the desire to be revenged 
upon the common foe; at the same time, twenty-five 
French Mamluks, urged thereto by M. Drovetti, deserted 
the ranks of Elfi's adherents and joined Mehemet Ali. 

The Pasha of Egypt possessed a zealous partisan in 
the French ambassador at Constantinople. The latter, 
perceiving that the secession of the Mamluks made the 
regaining of their former power an absolute impossibil- 
ity, pleaded the cause of Mehemet Ali with the Porte, and 
obtained a firman re-establishing his viceroyalty, on con- 
dition of his payment of an annual tribute of about 

The power of Mehemet Ali was beginning to be more 
firmly established, and the almost simultaneous deaths 
of Osman-Bardisi and Muhammed el-Elfi (November, 
1806, and January, 1807) seemed to promise a peaceful 


future, when, on March 17th, the English, displeased at 
his reconciliation with the Porte, arrived in Egypt. Their 
forces numbered some seven or eight thousand men, and 
it was the intention to stir up the Mamluks and render 
them every assistance. A detachment of the English 
forces, led by General Fraser, took possession of Alex- 
andria, which the English occupied for six months with- 
out being able to attempt any other enterprise. The re- 
mainder of the troops were cut to pieces at Rosetta by 
a small contingent of Albanians: thus ended the expe- 
dition. The viceroy, who at the beginning of the cam- 
paign had displayed really Oriental cruelty, and sent 
more than a thousand heads of English soldiers to Cairo 
to decorate Rumlieh, finished his operations by an act of 
European generosity, and delivered up his prisoners with- 
out demanding ransom. The plan of defence adopted by 
the pasha was the work of Drovetti, to whom, conse- 
quently, is due some of the glory of this rapid triumph. 

Mehemet Ali, having nothing further to fear from the 
English, who evacuated Egypt in September, 1807, began 
to give scope to his ambitious schemes, when the easily 
disturbed policy of the Porte saw fit to send the wily 
pasha against the Wahabis, who threatened to invade 
the Holy Places. Before obeying these injunctions, the 
viceroy deemed it wise, previous to engaging in a cam- 
paign so perilous, to ensure Egypt against the dangers 
with which, in the absence of the forces, she would be 

But Egypt had no more powerful enemies than the 
Mamluks, who, since 1808, had kept the country in a con- 













stant state of agitation. Mehemet Ali therefore deter- 
mined to put an end to this civil war, root and branch, and 
to exterminate completely this formidable adversary. 
He did not hesitate in the choice of means. War would 
not have succeeded; murder, therefore, was the only al- 
ternative, and the viceroy adopted this horrible means of 
accomplishing his designs. He invited the entire Mam- 
luk corps to a banquet, which he proposed to give in the 
Citadel Palace in honour of the departure of Tussun 
Pasha for Mecca. This palace is built upon a rock, and 
is reached by perpendicular paths. On May 1st, the day 
fixed upon for the festivity, Mehemet Ali received his 
guests in great splendour and with a cordiality calcu- 
lated to dispel any suspicions the Mamluks might have 
entertained. At the conclusion of the banquet, as they 
were returning home, they were fired upon in the narrow 
pass, where retreat and resistance were perfectly impos- 
sible. Thus, after having defeated the bravest troops 
in the world, they died obscurely, ingloriously, and un- 
able to defend themselves. Hassan Bey, brother of the 
celebrated Elfi, spurred his horse to a gallop, rode over 
the parapets, and fell, bruised and bleeding, at the foot 
of the walls, where some Arabs saved him from certain 
death by aiding his flight. The few who escaped massa- 
cre took refuge in Syria or Dongola. 

Whilst this horrible drama was being enacted in Cairo, 
similar scenes were taking place in those provinces whose 
governors had received stringent commands to butcher 
every remaining Mamluk in Egypt. Thus nearly all per- 
ished, and that famous corps was destroyed for ever. 


Although Mehemet Ali had no doubt whatever as to 
the intentions which had prompted the Porte to organise 
the expedition against the Wahabis, he hastened to pre- 
pare for this lengthy war. Mehemet himself was in com- 
mand of an army in the Hedjaz when Latif Pasha arrived, 
bearing a firman of investiture to the pashalic of Egypt. 
Luckily, Mehemet Ali on his departure had left behind 
him, as vekyl, a trustworthy man devoted to his interests, 
namely, Mehemet Bey. This faithful minister pretended 
to favour the claims of Latif Pasha, and then arrested 
him, and had him publicly executed. 

From this moment the real reign of Mehemet Ali 
begins. Possessed of a fertile country, he promptly began 
to consider the ways and means of improving the deplor- 
able state of its finances, and to grasp all the resources 
which agriculture and commerce could yield for the re- 
alisation of his ambitious schemes. Nothing must be 
neglected in the government of a country for so many 
years the scene of incessant warfare; the labourer must 
be made to return to the fielc^ he had deserted during the 
time of trouble; political and civil order must be re- 
established so as to reassure the inhabitants, and secure 
the resumption of long abandoned industries. 

The most important matter was to restrain the depre- 
dations of the Bedouins, and, to assure the obedience of 
these hitherto unsubdued tribes, he kept their sheikhs 
as hostages : at the same time he checked the delinquen- 
cies of the Kopts, in whose hands the government of the 
territories had been from time immemorial. A sure and 
certain peace thus having been ensured to the interior 

Courtyard of the House of Quasim Bey 



of the country, the pasha turned his attention to another 
enterprise, the accomplishment of which is always some- 
what difficult after a lengthy crisis. He wished to en- 
courage and regulate the payment of taxes without hin- 
dering the financial operations of private individuals. 
To this end, he re-established the custom of receiving 
tribute in kind, and to support the payment of this trib- 
ute he organised the export trade. A thousand vessels 
built at his own expense ploughed the waters of the Nile 
in all directions, and conveyed Egyptian produce to the 
shores of the Mediterranean, where huge warehouses 
stored the goods destined for foreign countries. 

Mehemet Ali preserved a continual intercourse with 
foreign merchants, and the country owed many fortunate 
innovations to these relations: agriculture was enriched 
by several productions hitherto unknown. A Frenchman, 
M. Jumel, introduced improvements in the production 
of cotton, whilst M. Drovetti, the pasha's tried friend, 
helped to further the establishment of manufactories by 
his advice and great experience of men and things. Be- 
fore long, cotton mills were built, cloth factories, a sugar 
refinery, rum distillery, and saltpetre works erected. 
The foreign trade despatched as much as seven million 
ardebs of cereals every year, and more than six hundred 
thousand bales of cotton. In return, European gold 
flowed into the treasury of this industrious pasha, and 
the revenues of Egypt, which hitherto had never exceeded 
$150,000,000, were more than doubled in 1816. 

The very slight success which Mehemet Ali had ob- 
tained when commanding the irregular forces during the 


expedition against the Wahabis decided him to put a 
long-cherished idea into execution, namely, to organise 
an army on European lines. Henceforth this became the 
sole occupation of the enterprising pasha and the exclu- 
sive goal of his perseverance. The Nizam- Jedyd was pro- 
claimed in the month of July, 1815, and all the troops 
were ordered to model themselves after the pattern of the 
French army. 

This large undertaking, which in 1807 had cost Selim 
III. his life, proved almost as fatal to Mehemet Ali. 
A terrible insurrection broke out amongst the alien sol- 
diers, who principally composed the army; the infuriated 
troops rose against the tyrant and the unbeliever, the 
palace was pillaged, and the pasha had scarcely time to 
seek the shelter of his citadel. His only means of saving 
his life and recovering his authority was solemnly to 
promise to abandon his plan. Mehemet Ali therefore 
deferred his military schemes and awaited the oppor- 
tunity to test its success upon the natives, who would be 
far more easily managed, than the excitable strangers, 
brought up as they were on the old traditions of the Okaz 
and the Mamluks. The war which still raged in Arabia 
gave him the means of ridding himself of the most in- 
domitable men, whom he despatched to Hedjaz under the 
command of Ibrahim Pasha, his eldest son. 

Now came success to console Mehemet Ali for the 
failure of his reformatory plans. After a long series of 
disasters, Ibrahim succeeded, in the year 1818, in taking 
Abd Allah Ibn-Sonud, the chief of the Wahabis, prisoner. 
He sent him to the Great Pasha, a name often applied 



to Mehemet ALL in Egypt, at Cairo, bearing a portion 
of the jewels taken from the temple at Mecca. The un- 
fortunate man was then taken to Constantinople, where 
his punishment bore testimony to the victory rather than 
the clemency of his conquerors. 

In reward for his services, the sultan sent Ibrahim 
a mantle of honour and 
named him Pasha of 
Egypt, which title con- 
ferred on him the high- 
est rank among the 
viziers and pashas, and 
even placed him above 
his own father in the 
hierarchy of the digni- 
taries of the Turkish 
Empire. At the same 
time Mehemet Ali was 
raised to the dignity of 
khan, an attribute of 
the Ottomans, and the 
greatest distinction ob- 
tainable for a pasha, inasmuch as it was formerly ex- 
clusively reserved for the sovereigns of the Crimea. 

After destroying Daryeh, the capital of Nedj, Me- 
hemet Ali conceived the idea of extending his possessions 
in the interior of Africa, and of subduing the country 
of the negroes, where he hoped to find much treasure. 
He accordingly sent his son, Ishmail Pasha, with five 
thousand men, upon this expedition, which ended most 



disastrously with the murder of Ishmail and his guard 
by Melek Nemr, and the destruction of the remainder of 
his forces. 

In the year 1824, Sultan Mahmud, realising the im- 
possibility of putting down the Greek insurrection by 
his own unaided forces, bent his pride sufficiently to ask 
help of his vassal Mehemet Ali. Mehemet was now in 
possession of a well-drilled army and a well-equipped 
fleet, which were placed at the service of the sultan, who 
promised him in return the sovereignty of Crete, the 
pashalic of Syria, and possibly the reversion of Morea 
for his son Ibrahim. The Greeks, deceived by their easy 
successes over the undisciplined Turkish hosts, failed 
to realise the greatness of the danger which threatened 
them. The Egyptian fleet managed, without serious 
opposition, to enter the Archipelago, and, in December, 
1824, Ibrahim, to whom Mehemet Ali had entrusted the 
supreme command of the expedition, established his base 
in Crete, within striking distance of the Greek main- 
land. The following February he landed with four thou- 
sand regular infantry and five hundred cavalry at Modon, 
in the south of Morea. 

The Greeks were utterly unable to hold their own 
against the well-disciplined fellaheen of Ibrahim Bey, 
and, before the end of the year, the whole of the Pelo- 
ponnesus, with the exception of a few strongholds, was 
at the mercy of the invader, and the report was spread 
that Ibrahim intended to deport the Greek population 
and re-people the country with Moslem negroes and 


The only barrier opposed to the entire extinction of 
the Greek population was their single stronghold of 
Missolonghi, which was now besieged by Rashid Pasha 
and the Turks. If Ibrahim had joined his forces with 
the besieging army of the Turks, Missolonghi could 
hardly have resisted their combined attack, and the 
Greek race would have been in danger of suffering anni- 

Meanwhile the Great Powers of Europe were seri- 
ously concerned with this threatened destruction of the 
Greeks. England proposed a joint intervention in de- 
fence of Greece on the part of the Powers, but Russia 
desired to act alone. A huge army was gradually con- 
centrated upon the Turkish frontier. The Greek leaders 
now offered to place Greece under British protection, and 
the Duke of Wellington was sent to St. Petersburg to 
arrange the terms of the proposed joint intervention. 
A protocol was signed at St. Petersburg April 4, 1826, 
whereby England and Russia pledged themselves to co- 
operate in preventing any further Turco-Egyptian agres- 
sion. A more definite agreement was reached in Septem- 
ber, aiming at the cutting off of Ibrahim in Morea by 
a united European fleet, thus forcing the Turks and 
Egyptians to terms. On July 6, 1827, a treaty was signed 
at London, between England, France, and Russia, which 
empowered the French and English admirals at Smyrna 
to part the combatants — by peaceful means if possible, 
and if not, by force. 

Admiral Codrington at once sailed to Nauplia. The 
Greeks were willing to accept an armistice, but the Turks 


scorned the offer. At about this time an Egyptian fleet 
of ninety-two vessels sailed from Alexandria and joined 
the Ottoman fleet in the bay of Navarino (September 
7th). Five days later Admiral Codrington arrived and 
informed the Turkish admiral that any attempt to leave 
the bay would be resisted by force. French vessels had 
also arrived, and Ibrahim agreed not to leave the bay 
without consulting the sultan. A Greek flotilla having 
destroyed a Turkish flotilla, Ibrahim took this as a breach 
of the convention and sailed out to sea, but Codrington 
succeeded in turning him back. Ibrahim now received 
instructions from the Porte to the effect that he should 
defy the Powers. A new ultimatum was at once pre- 
sented and the allied fleet of the European Powers en- 
tered the bay of Navarino. The Turco-Egyptian fleet 
was disposed at the bottom of the bay in the form of a 
crescent. Without further parleying, as the fleet of the 
English and their allies approached, the Turks and Egyp- 
tians began to fire, and a battle ensued, apparently with- 
out plan on either side: the conflict soon became general, 
and Admiral Codrington in the Asia opened a broadside 
upon the Egyptian admiral, and quickly reduced his 
vessel to a wreck. Other vessels in rapid succession 
shared the same fate, and the conflict raged with great 
fury for four hours. When the smoke cleared off, the 
Turks and Egyptians had disappeared, and the bay was 
strewn with fragments of their ships. 

Admiral Codrington now made a demonstration be- 
fore Alexandria, and Mehemet Ali gladly withdrew his 
forces from co-operating with such a dangerous ally as 



the sultan had proved himself to be. Before the French 
expedition, bound for the Morea, had arrived, all the 
Egyptian forces had been withdrawn from the Pelo- 

•-' -■ \ \ "fi ' 


\\| * * km 

y i m 




ponnesus, and the French only arrived after the Anglo- 
Egyptian treaty had been signed August 9, 1828. 

Mehemet Ali's chief ambition had always been to 
enlarge the circle of regeneration in the East. In Morea 
he had failed through European intervention. He felt 


that his nearer neighbour, Syria, which he had long cov- 
eted, would be an easier conquest, and he made the pun- 
ishment of Abdullah Pasha of Acre, against whom he 
had many grievances, his excuse to the Porte. In reality 
it was a case of attacking or being attacked. Through 
a firman of the Divan of Constantinople, which had been 
published officially to the European Powers, he knew 
that his secret relations with Mustapha Pasha of Scodra 
had become known. He knew also that letters had been 
intercepted in which he offered this pasha money, troops, 
and ammunition, while engaging himself to march on 
the capital of the empire, and that these letters were now 
in the hand of the Sultan Mahmud. He was also in- 
formed that the Porte was preparing to send a formidable 
army to Egypt; and his sound instinct taught him what 
to do in this position. 

Ibrahim Pasha was appointed commander-in-chief of 
the invading army, which was composed of six regiments 
of infantry, four of cavalry, forty field-pieces, and many 
siege-pieces. Provisions, artillery, and ammunition were 
on board the men-of-war. Thousands of baggage camels 
and ambulances were being collected ready for depar- 
ture when cholera broke out. Coming from India, after 
having touched along the coasts of the Persian Gulf, it 
had penetrated into the caravan to Mecca, where the heat 
and dearth of water had given it fresh intensity. It 
raged in the Holy Town, striking down twenty thousand 
victims, and touched at Jeddah and Zambo, where its 
effects were very dire. Passing through Suez, it deci- 
mated the population, and in August it reached Cairo 


and spread to Upper and Lower Egypt. The army did 
not escape the common scourge, and when about to in- 
vade Syria was overtaken by the epidemic. Five thou- 
sand out of ninety thousand perished. All preparations 
for the expedition were abandoned until a more tem- 
perate season improved the sanitary conditions. 

About the beginning of October, 1831, the viceroy 
gave orders to his son to prepare for departure, and on 
November 2d the troops started for El Arish, the general 
meeting-place of the army. Ibrahim Pasha went to 
Alexandria, whence he embarked with his staff and some 
troops for landing. Uniting at El Arish, the army 
marched on Gaza and took possession of that town, dis- 
persing some soldiers of the Pasha of Acre. Thence it 
turned to Jaffa, where it met with no resistance, the 
Turkish garrison having already evacuated the town. 

At this time the army which had sailed from Alex- 
andria was cruising about the port of Jaffa, and Ibrahim 
Pasha landed there and took over the command of the 
army, which advanced slowly on St. Jean d'Acre, seizing 
Caiffa to facilitate the anchoring of the fleet, which had 
landed provisions, artillery, and all kinds of ammuni- 
tion. After six months' siege and ten hours' fighting, 
Ibrahim Pasha obtained possession of St. Jean d'Acre, 
under whose walls fell so many valiant crusaders, and 
which, since the repulse of Napoleon, had passed for all 
but impregnable. Abdullah Pasha evinced a desire to 
be taken to Egypt, and he landed at Alexandria, where 
he was warmly welcomed by the viceroy, who compli- 
mented him on his defence. 


Hostile in everything to Mehemet Ali, the Porte 
seized every opportunity of injuring him. When Sultan 
Mahmud learned of the victory of the viceroy's troops 
in Syria, he sent one of his first officers to enquire the 
reason of this invasion. The viceroy alleged grievances 
against the Pasha of Acre, to which his Highness replied 
that he alone had the right to punish his subjects. 

The eyes of Europe were now fixed upon the Levant, 
where a novel struggle was going on between vassal and 
suzerain. Authority and liberty were again opposing 
each other. The Powers watched the struggle with in- 
tense interest. The viceroy protested against bearing the 
cost of the war, and demanded the investiture of Syria. 
Mehemet Ali was then declared a rebel, and a firman was 
issued against him, in support of which excommunication 
an army of sixty thousand men advanced across Asia 
Minor to the Syrian boundaries, while a squadron of 
twenty-five sail stood in the Dardanelles ready to weigh 

The Porte forbade the ambassadors of the Powers 
to import ammunition into Egypt, for it feared that the 
viceroy might find a support whose strength it knew only 
too well. But the viceroy had no need of this, for his 
former connections with Europe had put him in a posi- 
tion of independence, whereas the Porte itself was 
obliged to fall back on this support. Russia, the one 
of the three Great Powers whose disposition it was to 
support the authority of the sultan, lent him twenty 
thousand bayonets, whilst Ibrahim Pasha made his ad- 
vance to the gates of Constantinople. 



Immediately after the taking of St. Jean d'Acre, 
Ibrahim Pasha, following up his successes, had turned 
towards Damascus, which town he entered without a 


blow being struck, the governor and the leading inhab- 
itants having taken flight. The commander-in-chief es- 
tablished his headquarters under the walls of the con- 
quered country, and then marched in three columns on 


Horns. The battle of Horns (July 8, 1832) demonstrated 
the vast superiority of the Egyptian troops. On both 
sides there were about thirty thousand regular soldiers, 
but the Egyptians were the better organised, the better 
disciplined, and the more practised in the arts of war. 
When it is remembered that at Horns the Turks lost two 
thousand men killed, and 2,500 taken prisoners, while 
the Egyptian casualties were only 102 killed and 162 
w r ounded, one is not astonished at the enthusiasm with 
w T hich Ibrahim Pasha wrote after the battle: " I do not 
hesitate to say that two or three hundred thousand of 
such troops would cause me no anxiety.' ' 

It is not surprising that the beaten pashas were so 
struck with terror that in their flight they abandoned 
sixteen more pieces of artillery and all the ammunition 
they had managed to save from their defeat. They fled 
as if they could not put sufficient distance between them- 
selves and their redoubtable enemy. 

This battle foretold the result of the Syrian campaign. 
The population of Syria seemed to call for the domination 
of the conqueror; the viceroy protested his submission 
to the Porte and his desire for peace, and meanwhile 
Ibrahim Pasha marched forward. 

The Porte counted on its fleet to guard the Darda- 
nelles, but it needed an army and a commander to oppose 
Ibrahim Pasha, who again defeated the Turks at Oulon- 
Kislak. He then advanced towards the plains of Ana- 
tolia, where he met Rashid Pasha. 

It was now December, 1830, and the atmosphere was 
heavy with a thick fog. The armies opened fire on each 


other on December 21st, with the town of Koniah in the 
background. The grand vizier was at the head of close 
on sixty thousand men, while the Egyptian army only 
comprised thirty thousand, including the Bedouins. The 
fighting had continued for about six hours when Rashid 
Pasha was taken prisoner; the news of his capture 
spread along the Turkish lines and threw them into dis- 
order, and the Egyptians remained masters of the field, 
with twenty pieces of mounted cannon and some bag- 
gage: the Turks had lost only five hundred men, while 
the Egyptian losses were but two hundred. 

The battle of Koniah was the last act in the Syrian 
drama. The sultan's throne was shaken, and its fall 
might involve great changes in the politics of the world. 
Ibrahim Pasha was only three days' journey from the 
Bosphorus, and the way was open to him, with no Turk- 
ish army to fight and the whole population in his favour. 
In Constantinople itself Mehemet Ali had a powerful 
party, and, if the West did not interfere, the Ottoman 
Empire was at an end. However, European diplomacy 
considered that, in spite of its weakness, it should still 
weigh in the balance of the nations. 

Trembling in the midst of his harem, Sultan Mahmud 
cried for help, and Russia, his nearest neighbour, heard 
the call. This was the Power that, either from sympathy 
or ambition, was the most inclined to come to his aid. 
The Emperor Nicholas had offered assistance in a letter 
brought to the sultan by the Russian General Mouravieff, 
and a Russian squadron appeared in the Bosphorus with 
eight thousand men for disembarkment. The Russians, 


however, agreed not to set foot on shore unless Mehemet 
Ali should refuse the conditions that were being proposed 
to hhn. The viceroy refused the conditions, which lim- 
ited his possessions to the pashalics of Acre, Tripoli, 
and Seyd, and w T hich seemed to him incompatible with 
the glory won by his arms. 

The sultan did not wash to give up Syria, but that 
province was no longer his. The sword of Ibrahim had 
severed the last bonds that fastened it to him, and he 
was obliged to yield it, as well as the district of Andama. 
On his side, the viceroy acknowledged himself a vassal 
of the Porte, and agreed to make an annual payment of 
the monies he received from the pashas of Syria. This 
peace was concluded on May 14, 1833, and was called the 
peace of Kutayeh, after the place where Ibrahim signed it. 

It was impossible that the convention of Kutayeh 
should be more than an armistice. The pasha benefited 
by it too greatly not to desire further advantages, and 
the sultan had lost so much that he must needs make 
some attempt at recovery. Mahmud's annoyance was 
caused by the fact and nature of the dispossession rather 
than by its material extent. The descendant of the Os- 
manlis, ever implacable in his hatreds, who had allowed 
Syria, the cradle of his race, to be wrested from him, 
now awaited the hour of vengeance. Mehemet Ali knew 
himself to be strong enough to carry a sceptre ably, and 
he realised that there would be no need for his numerous 
pashalics to pass out of his family. Henceforth his mind 
was filled with thoughts of independence and the rights 
of succession. 



The viceroy and the sultan continued to strengthen 
their forces, and a conflict occurred near Nezib on June 
24, 1839. The Egyptians completely routed their ad- 


versaries, despite the strenuous resistance of the Impe- 
rial Guard, who, when called upon to surrender, cried in 
the same words used at Waterloo, " Khasse sultanem 


mamatenda darrhi tuffenguini iere Koimas " (" The 
guards of the sultan surrender arms only to death "). 

Greatly elated, Ibrahim flung himself into the arms 
of his companion in glory, Suleiman Pasha. His pre- 
diction was verified: " This time we will go to Constan- 
tinople, or they shall come to Cairo." They set out for 
Constantinople; but the viceroy was again generous. 
Through the mediation of Captain Caille, aide-de-camp 
to Marshal Soult, who, in the name of France, demanded 
a cessation of hostilities, Mehemet Ali desired his son 
not to proceed into Asia Minor; so the general halted 
before Aintab, the scene of his victories, as he had done 
on a former occasion before Kutayeh. 

Consumptive and exhausted with his excesses, Mah- 
mud, whose virtue lay in his ardent love of reforms, died 
before his time, but this untimely demise at least spared 
him the knowledge of the Nezib disaster and the treason 
of his fleet, which passed into the hands of the viceroy. 
Hafiz Pasha, routed by Ibrahim, was arraigned on his 
return to Constantinople for leading the attack before 
receiving the official mandate; but the Turkish general 
produced an autograph of his defunct master. The sultan 
had been false to the last, and deceived both European 
ambassadors and the ministers of the empire, by means 
of mysterious correspondence, combined with his protes- 
tations for the maintenance of peace. 

It was while Mehemet Ali was organising the national 
guard of Egypt, and arranging the military training of 
the workmen employed in his many factories, that the 
unlucky treaty of July 15, 1840, which gave the whole 


of Syria to the Sublime Porte, was concluded. Four 
Western Powers had secretly met in London and agreed 
to deprive the sovereign of the Nile of his conquests, 
and fling him again at the foot of the throne, which he 
had treated as a plaything. Mehemet Ali haughtily pro- 
tested against the desecration of his rights, and France, 
his faithful ally, with hand on sword-hilt, threatened to 
draw it against whosoever should touch Egypt. England 
and Austria covered the Syrian sea-coast with their sails 
and guns. Beyrut, Latakia, Tortosa, Tripoli, Saida, Tyre, 
St. Jean d'Acre were bombarded and fell. This formi- 
dable coalition despatched Lord Napier to Alexandria as 
negotiator. Mehemet Ali accepted the overtures, and a 
convention guaranteed to him, as Pasha of Egypt, rights 
of succession unknown to all other pashalics of the em- 
pire. The hatti-sherif of January 12, 1841, consolidated 
this privilege, with, however, certain restrictions which 
were regarded as inadmissible by France, the viceroy, 
and the cabinets. A new act of investiture, passed on 
June 1, 1841, confirmed the viceroy in the possession of 
Egypt, transmissible to his male heirs, and also in the 
government of Nubia. Mehemet Ali asked no more, 
France declared herself satisfied, and, to prove it, became 
once more a member of the European league by the 
treaty of July 15, 1841, which, without being directly 
connected with the European question, dealing as it did 
with the claims of Turkey upon the Dardanelles, implied, 
none the less, accordance upon the Eastern situation. As 
a token of reconciliation, the Ottoman Porte soon raised 
its former rival, Mehemet Ali, to the rank of sadrazam. 


The political history of Mehemet Ali was now at an 
end. All the results, good or bad, of his career, had 
reached fulfilment. As a vanquished conqueror he had 
been able to remain firm in the midst of catastrophe ; his 
fatherly ideas and feelings had been his salvation. Had 
he been absolutely heroic, he would have considered it 
a duty, for his courage and his name's sake, to carry 
the struggle on to the bitter end, and to perish in the 
whirlpool he had raised. He showed that he desired to 
act thus, but in his children's interests he refrained, and 
this was, we believe, the only influence of importance 
which made him give way. It is true that there was 
not much difference between a throne crumbling to ruins, 
or one built thereon; such as it was, however, it seemed 
firmly secured to his children, and it was for them to 
strengthen the foundations. The pasha considered this 
a fitting reward for his labours; as for himself, he was 
over seventy years of age, and ready to lay down his 

A man without learning and surrounded by barbarian 
soldiers, Mehemet Ali appears before the world as nature 
made him. Dissimulation, diplomacy, and deceit, coupled 
with capability, great courage, genius, and much perse- 
verance, brought him to the head of the government of 
Egypt. To gain his ends he flattered the powerful 
Ulemas who were the nation's representatives to the 
sultan, but, once having obtained his object, he dismissed 

Though a clever politician, he was a bad adminis- 
trator. Being alternately blindly confident and extremely 




suspicious, he did not choose well the men he employed 
as his auxiliaries, and, being a Turk and a devout Mussul- 
man, Mehemet Ali wished to give back to the Turks the 
power they had lost. He only took account of the results 
of any undertaking, without paying any attention to the 
difficulties surmounted in its execution, and this charac- 
teristic made him commit many injustices. It was his 
habit to treat men as levers, which he put aside when he 
had no further use for them. He was quick of appre- 
hension, and of very superior intelligence, and his whole 
character was a mixture of generosity and meanness, of 
greatness and littleness. 

Mehemet Ali was an affable, an easy business man, 
and dominated by a desire to talk. He enjoyed relating 
the incidents of his past life, and, when not preoccupied 
by affairs of importance, his conversation was full of 
charm. The foreigners who visited him were always 
much impressed with his superiority, while his lively 
humour, his freedom, and that air of good nature he knew 
so well how to adopt, all captivated his visitors. The 
expression of his face was exceedingly mobile, and 
quickly communicated itself to the men who surrounded 
him, who were in constant observation of his moods, so 
that one could judge of the state of mind of the viceroy 
by the calm or disturbed appearance of his servants. 

When Mehemet Ali was anxious, his look became 
fierce, his forehead wrinkled, and his eyes shone with 
anger, while his speech was broken and his manner 
brusque and imperious. As regards those in his service, 
Mehemet Ali was by turns severe or gentle, tolerant or 


impatient, irascible, and surprisingly forbearing. He 
was jealous of the glory of others, and desired all honours 
for himself. He was an enemy of all that was slow. 
He liked to do everything, to decide everything, and 
worked night and day. All letters, notices, and mem- 
oranda that referred to his government, he read him- 
self or had them read to him. Picked men translated 
French and English political newspapers into Turkish, 
and he encouraged discussion on all subjects of high 
interest, although generally imposing his own opinion. 
He did not always keep strictly to his word. He was 
a stoic, and great pain could not destroy his habitual 
gaiety, and when very ill he would still speak affably 
to those around him; but illnesses with him were rare, 
for his health was, as a rule, excellent. He was very 
careful about his appearance, and was fond of women 
without being their slave; in his youth his life had been 
dissolute. He was above the prejudices of his nation, 
and prayed very often, although a fatalist. 

At the age of forty-five he learned to read, and he 
held European learning in great esteem, confessing it 
superior to that of Turkey; but he continued to regard 
European scientists and artists only as salaried for- 
eigners, whom he hastened to replace by natives as soon 
as he considered the latter sufficiently enlightened. 
Mehemet Ali made one great mistake, with which 
his nearest servants reproach him, and that is with not 
having introduced into his family learned men from 
Europe, picked men devoted to his cause, and well versed 
in the special things of which his country was in need. 


Had they been brought into a close contact with the 
viceroy, and admitted unreservedly to all the privileges 
the Turks enjoyed, these men would have adopted Egypt 
as their country. They would have spoken the language 
and have become the sentinels and safeguards necessary 
for the maintenance of useful institutions which the 
Turks either refused or did not understand. 

During the administration of Mehemet Ali, public 
hygiene was not neglected, and a sanitary council watched 
over the health of the country. Measures were taken 
to increase the cleanliness and sanitation of the towns; 
military hospitals were built, and a lazarette was es- 
tablished at Alexandria, whilst vaccine was widely used. 
In the country the planting of many trees helped the 
atmosphere, and Egypt, which Europeans had hitherto 
regarded as the seat of a permanent plague epidemic, 
became more and more a healthy and pleasurable resort. 
Mehemet, whose aims were always for the furthering of 
Egyptian prosperity, profited by the leisure of peace 
to look after the industrial works. Two great projects 
that occupied his attention were the Nile dams and the 
construction of a railway from Suez to Cairo. 

The actual condition of the canalisation of Egypt, 
while vastly improved by the viceroy, was still far from 
complete. Canals, partial dams, and embankments were 
attempted; fifty thousand draw-wells carried the water 
up to a considerable height, but the system of irrigation 
was insufficient. 

The railway from Cairo to Suez was an easier, though 
not less important, work. The road crossed neither 


mountain, river, nor forest, while a series of little plains 
afforded a firm foundation, requiring very few earth- 
works. Its two iron arms stretched out into the desert, 
and steam-engines could traverse the distance from the 
Nile to the Red Sea in three hours. 

Suez would thus become a suburb of Cairo, and thus, 
being brought closer to Egypt, would regain her trade. 
This enterprise, just as the former one, gave promise of 
bringing to Egypt the two sources of national wealth and 
prosperity: agriculture and trade. 

The agricultural unity which Mehemet Ali consti- 
tuted enabled him to bring about improvements which 
with private proprietorship would have been impossible. 
The fellah, careless of to-morrow, did not sow for future 
reaping, and made no progress, but when Mehemet Ali 
undertook the control of agricultural labour in Egypt, 
the general aspect of the country changed, though, in 
truth, the individual condition of the fellah was not 
improved. Besides the work of irrigation by means of 

canals, dykes, and banks, and the introduction of the 

I" - 

cultivation of indigo, cotton, opium, and silk, the viceroy 
had also planted thousands of trees of various kinds, 
including 100,000 walnut-trees ; he ordered the maimours, 
or prefects, to open up the roads between the villages, 
and to plant trees. He wished the villages, towns, and 
hamlets to be ornamented, as in Europe, with large trees, 
under whose shelter the tired traveller could rest. 

In the various districts were vast tracts of land which 
for a long time the plough had not touched. Con- 
cessions of these lands were made to Franks, Turks, 








Greeks, and Armenians, which concessions were free, and 
for a term of seven or eight years, while the guarantees 
were exempt from taxes. 

During the closing years of his life, between 1841 and 
1849, Mehemet occupied himself with improvements in 
Egypt. He continued to prosecute his commercial specu- 
lations, and manufacturing, educational, and other 
schemes. The barrage of the Nile, which has only been 
finished during the British occupation, was begun under 
his direction. In 1847 he visited Constantinople, and 
was received with the rank of a vizier. In the year 1848 
symptoms of imbecility appeared, and his son Ibrahim 
was declared his successor. After a reign of only two 
months he died. Mehemet Ali's death occurred on the 
3rd of August, 1849. His direct successor was his grand- 
son, Abbas Pasha, who held the sceptre of Egypt as the 
direct heir of Ibrahim Pasha. This prince took but little 
interest in the welfare of his country. He had in him 
no spark of the noble ambition of his predecessor, and no 
trace of his genius, and he showed no desire for progress 
or reforms. He was a real prince of the ancient East, 
suspicious, sombre, and careless of the destiny of the 
country entrusted to his care. He liked to withdraw to 
the privacy of his palace, and, isolated in the midst of 
his guards, to live that life of the distrustful and volup- 
tuous despots of the East. The palace of Bar-el-Beda, 
which he had built on the road to Suez in the open desert, 
a palace without water, lifting its head in the solitude 
like a silent witness of a useless life and tragic death, 
impresses the traveller with astonishment and fear. 


Abbas Pasha was weak in his negotiations with the 
European Powers, and this was well for Egypt, as their 
representative was able to hold in check his silent hos- 
tility to Western civilisation. Such guardianship is use- 
ful when exercised over a prince like Abbas Pasha, but 
it tends to become troublesome and baneful when it at- 
tempts to interfere with the government of an active and 
enlightened sovereign animated by just and generous 

Muhammed Said, the successor of Abbas Pasha, was 
born in 1822, nine years later than his nephew Abbas. 
He was brought up in Europe by French professors, and 
M. Kornig, a distinguished Orientalist, remained with 
his pupil and became his secretary. He not only in- 
structed him in all branches of knowledge becoming to 
his rank, but also developed in him a love of European 
civilisation and noble sentiments, of which he gave proof 
from the moment of his accession. He was imbued with 
liberal principles, which in an Eastern potentate give 
proof of great moral superiority, and in this respect 
Muhammed Said was second to no prince in Europe. He 
worked for the emancipation of his subjects and the 
civilisation of Egypt, and was not content to produce 
that superficial civilisation which consists in transplant- 
ing institutions that the mass of the people could not 
understand. Said Pasha endeavoured to pursue his 
father's policy and to carry out his high aims. He had 
not, however, the strength of character nor the health 
necessary to meet the serious difficulties involved in such 
a task, and he will be chiefly remembered by his abolition 


of the more grinding government monopolies, and for the 
concession of the Suez Canal. 

After his death Said Pasha was succeeded in the vice- 
royalty by his nephew, Ismail Pasha, who was proclaimed 
viceroy without opposition early in the year 1863. Ismail, 
the first who accepted the title of khedive from the sul- 
tan, was born on December 31, 1830, being the second of 
the three sons of Ibrahim, and grandson of Mehemet Ali. 
He had been educated at the Ecole d'Etat Major at Paris, 
and when Ahmed, the eldest son of Ibrahim, died in 1858, 
Ismail became the heir to his uncle Said. He had been 
employed, after his return to Egypt, on missions to the 
sovereign pontiff; the emperor, Napoleon III.; and the 
Sultan of Turkey. In the year 1861 he was despatched 
with an army of 18,000 men to quell an insurrection in 
the Sudan, which undertaking he brought to a successful 
conclusion. On ascending the throne he was much grat- 
ified to find that, on account of the scarcity of cotton, 
resulting from the Civil War in America, the revenues 
had very considerably increased from the export of the 
Egyptian cotton. At this date the cotton crop was worth 
$125,000,000, instead of $25,000,000, which was the nor- 
mal value of the Egyptian output. It was a very serious 
misfortune to Egypt that during his sojourn abroad 
Ismail had learned many luxurious ways, and had also 
discovered that European nations were accustomed to 
make free use of their credit in raising sums of money 
for their immediate advantage. From this moment 
Ismail started upon a career which gave to Egypt, in 
the eyes of the world, a fictitious grandeur, and which 


made him one of the most talked-of rulers among the 
cabinets and peoples of the European countries. He 
began by transferring his own private debts to the state, 
and thereafter looked upon Egypt merely as his private 
estate, and himself as the sovereign landholder. Without 
any sense of his responsibility to the Egyptians them- 
selves, he increased his own fame throughout Europe 
in the sumptuous fashion of a spendthrift millionaire. 
He deemed it necessary for his fame that Egypt should 
possess institutions modelled upon those of European 
countries, and he applied himself with energy to achieve 
this, and without any stint of expense. By burdening 
posterity for centuries to come, Ismail, during the two 
decades subsequent to his accession, always had a supply 
of ready money with which to dazzle European guests. 
During his entire reign Egypt swarmed with financiers 
and schemers of every description, to whom the compla- 
cent Ismail lent an only too willing ear. 

In the year 1866, in return for an increase of tribute, 
he obtained from the sultan a firman giving him the title 
of khedive (Turkish, khidewi, a king), and changing the 
law of succession to that of direct descent from father 
to son; and in 1873 he obtained a new firman, purchased 
again at an immense cost to his subjects, which rendered 
him practically independent of the sultan. Ismail pro- 
jected vast schemes of internal reform. He remodelled 
the system of customs and the post-office, stimulated com- 
mercial progress, and created the Egyptian sugar indus- 
try. He introduced European improvements into Cairo 
and Alexandria; he built vast palaces, entertained vis- 



itors with lavish generosity, and maintained an opera and 
a theatre. By his order the distinguished composer, 
Verdi, produced the famous opera " A'ida " for the enter- 
tainment of his illustrious guests on the occasion of their 
visit to Egypt during the festivities connected with the 
opening of the Suez Canal. On this occasion Mariette 
Bey ransacked the tombs of the ancient Egyptian kings 


in order to reproduce in a lifelike manner the costumes 
and scenery appropriate for the occasion. 

The opening of this canal gave Ismail much promi- 
nence in the courts of Europe. He was made a Grand 
Commander of the Bath, and the same year visited Paris 
and London, where he was received by Queen Victoria 
and welcomed by the lord mayor. In 1869 he again 
visited London. By his great power of fascination and 


lavish expenditure lie was ever able to make a striking 
impression upon the foreign courts. During the opening 
of the canal, when Ismail gave and received royal honours, 
treating monarchs as equals, and being treated by them 
in like manner, the jealousy of the sultan was aroused. 
Ismail, however, contrived judiciously to appease the 
suspicions of his overlord, Abdul Aziz. 

In the year 1876 the old s}^stem of consular juris- 
diction for foreigners was abolished, and the system of 
mixed courts was introduced, by which European and 
native judges sat together to try all civil cases, without 
respect to nationality. 

In the year 1874 Darfur, a province in the Sudan 
west of Kordofan, was annexed by Ismail. He also en- 
gaged in a disastrous war against the Abyssinians, who 
had ever shown themselves capable of resisting the in- 
roads of Egyptians, Muhammedans, Arabs, and even of 
European invaders, as was proven by the annihilation 
of a large Italian army of invasion, and the abandonment 
of the campaign against Abyssinia by the Italians in the 
closing years of the nineteenth century. 

It was true that Ismail had attempted to carry out 
the great schemes of his grandfather for the regeneration 
of the Orient, and it is possible that, if the jealousy of 
European Powers had not prevented the army of Ibrahim 
Bey from controlling immense territories in Syria and 
Anatolia, which they had won by conquest, that the re- 
generation of the Orient might have been accomplished at 
least a century earlier. No people would have benefited 
more by the success of Mehemet Ali's policy than the 










Christian people who to-day are under the rule of the 
barbarous Turks. With the regeneration of the Orient, 
the trade of European nations in the East would have 
been very largely increased. 

The policy of regeneration, wisely begun by Mehemet 
Ali, was resumed within Egypt itself in a spendthrift 
manner by his grandson Ismail. Every act of his reign, 
with its ephemeral and hollow magnificence, moved 
towards the one inevitable result of foreign intervention. 
The price of all the transient splendour was the surren- 
der by slow degrees of the sovereignty and independence 
of Egypt itself. The European Powers of late have 
withdrawn their interest in the betterment of the native 
populations in the Asiatic dominions of the sultan, and 
have concerned themselves exclusively with the imme- 
diate interests of commerce and the enforcement of debts 
contracted to European bondholders. All progress in 
the later history of Egypt has originated in the desire 
of the European Powers to see Egypt in a position capa- 
ble of meeting her indebtedness to foreign bondholders. 

In so far as the cry raised of " Egypt for the Egyp- 
tians " was a protest against forcing the Egyptians to 
pay for an assumed indebtedness which was at least 
four times greater than anything they had actually re- 
ceived, no movement was ever more just and righteous 
than the protest of the fellaheen against foreign control, 
a movement which has been chiefly associated with the 
name of Arabi Pasha. The issue of Ismail's financial 
troubles was most ignominious and disastrous to Egypt, 
after nearly a hundred years of heroic struggles to keep 



pace with the progress of modern Europe. Had Ismail 
modelled his career upon that of his illustrious grand- 
father, rather than that of Napoleon III., with which it 
shows many striking parallels, it is probable that the 
advantage secured to Egypt through the British occupa- 
tion might have resulted in political and financial inde- 
pendence. When the crash came, and the order for his 
deposition was sent by the sultan, Ismail resigned the 
khedivate in complete submission; and, taking away with 
him a large private fortune and a portion of the royal 
harem, he spent the remainder of his life in retirement at 
Naples and Constantinople, and was buried with solemn 
pomp in the royal cemetery at Cairo. 






Ismail deposed : Tewfik Pasha : Revolt of Arabi Pasha : Lord Wolseley and 
the Battle of Tel-el-Kebir : The Mahdist Rising : General Gordon in the 
Sudan : Death of Gordon : The Sudan abandoned and re-conquered : 
Battle of Omdurman : Khartum College : Financial Stability : Abbas II. : 
Education, Law, and the improved condition of the Fellaheen : The 
Caisse de la Dette. 

HE official deposition of Ismail Pasha by 
the sultan of Turkey, Abdul Hamid, oc- 
curred on June 26, in the year 1879, and 
his son Tewfik assumed the khedivate, 
becoming practically the protege of Eng- 
land and Egypt. To understand how this came to pass, 
it is necessary to review the account of the financial 
embarrassments of Ismail. In twelve years he had ex- 
tracted more than $400,000,000 from the fellaheen in 
taxes. He had borrowed another $400,000,000 from 
Europe at the same time, of which nominal sum he 



probably received $250,000,000 in cash. The loans were 
ostensibly contracted for public works. Possibly ten 
per cent, of the borrowed money was profitably laid 
out. The railways were extended; Upper Egypt was 
studded with sugar factories,— most of them doomed to 
failure,— and certain roads and gardens were made about 
the city of Cairo. 

The remainder of this enormous sum of money was 
spent in purchasing a change in the law of succession, 
and the new title of khedive; in disastrous Abyssinian 
campaigns; in multiplying shoddy palaces, and in per- 
sonal extravagance, which combined Oriental profusion 
with the worst taste of the Second Empire. Useless 
works engaged the corvee; the fellaheen w r ere evicted 
from vast tracts, which became ill-managed estates; and 
their crops, cattle, and even seed were taken from them 
by the tax-gatherers, so that they died by hundreds when 
a low Nile afflicted the land. The only persons who 
flourished in Ismail's time were foreign speculators and 
adventurers of the lowest type. As these conditions be- 
came more serious, the khedive attempted to find some 
means of protection against the concession-monger. He 
adopted a suggestion of the wise Nubar Pasha, and in- 
stituted the mixed tribunals for adjudging civil cases 
between natives and foreigners. 

The Powers agreed to the establishment of these tri- 
bunals, and intended to enforce the decisions of the 
courts, even in case that Ismail himself were the delin- 
quent. When later the khedive repudiated the mixed 
tribunals, this action precipitated his fall. 


It became increasingly difficult for the khedive to meet 
his accumulated obligations. The price of cotton had 
fallen after the close of the American war, and there was 
less response from the impoverished people to the Cour- 
bash, which in 1868 was still more strictly enforced; and 
soon this enforcement by the mixed tribunal of debts due 
to foreigners by an agricultural population, who lived 
by borrowing, and were accustomed to settle their debts 
by haggling, aggravated the misery of the fellaheen, and 
led to that universal despair which was to give strength 
and significance to the Arabist revolt. It was no un- 
common procedure for the Levantine money-lender to 
accompany the tax-gatherer into the provinces with a 
chest of money. He paid the taxes of the assembled and 
destitute fellaheen, who in return were obliged to give 
mortgages on their crops or holdings. 

The desperate state of Egyptian finance, which led to 
the sale of the precious Suez Canal shares, at last opened 
the eyes of the bondholders. Mr. G. T. Goschen (Vis- 
count Goschen) and M. Joubert were deputed to Egypt 
on behalf of the foreign creditors. The accounts were 
found to be in a state of wild confusion, with little or 
no chance of learning the actual facts controlling the 
financial situation. The minister of finance, or " Mufet- 
tish," Ismail Pasha Sadeck, was now arrested and ban- 
ished to Dongola. 

There was an immediate prospect of a dual control 
by England and France. Commissioners were appointed 
to constitute a caisse, or court, for receiving the interest 
due to the bondholders. The great mass of the debt was 


then unified, but the Goschen and Joubert arrangement 
was found to be too severe for the impoverished country. 
A low Nile and a famine resulted in a demand for an 
investigation into the administration, and the following 
year Ismail was obliged to authorise a commission of 
inquiry. The waste, extravagance, and wholesale extor- 
tion from the peasantry revealed by this report made a 
deep impression upon Europe, and Ismail was forced to 
disgorge the estates which he had received from the 

In the meantime, the khedive was not inactive in 
taking measures to prevent the advent of a confirmed 
foreign control. He created a constitutional ministry, 
upon whom the responsibility rested for the different 
branches of the administration. He likewise fomented 
an outburst of feeling among the Moslems against the 
foreign element in the constitutional ministry. This was 
intended to strengthen the pro-Egyptian element in the 
government, and Ismail thus hoped to demonstrate to 
the European Powers the uselessness of attempting to 


subordinate the Egyptians to foreign methods of finance 
and control. Ismail subsequently dismissed the ministry, 
and soon afterwards the controllers themselves. Know- 
ing well the jealousy which existed between England and 
Prance, he believed that there was a chance that he might 
successfully play off one Power against the other. If 
the Moslems had not been so severely oppressed by tax- 
ation, and Ismail had acted with courage and firmness, 
it is probable that he might have held his own, and Egypt 
might have refused to again accept the dual control. 



Bismarck now intervened, and hinted to the sultan 
that he would receive the support of the Powers, and 
Abdul Hamid immediately sent a telegram to the Egyp- 
tian government that Ismail Pasha was deposed from the 
khedivate. At this moment his courage gave way, and 
Ismail surrendered his throne to his son Tewfik. 


Tewfik had the misfortune to enter upon a doleful 
heritage of an empty treasury, a starving people, and an 
army ready to mutiny. There were now two parties in 
Egypt. The military movement was of the least im- 
portance. The superior posts in the army had been oc- 
cupied by Circassians since the days of Mehemet Ali. 


Slave boys were bought and trained as officers. The 
number and quality of the Circassians had deteriorated, 
but they still held the most important posts. The fella- 
heen officers, under Arabi, who had been brought to pro- 
test against reductions in the military establishment, now 
claimed that the Circassians should make way for the 
Egyptians. Together with this military dissatisfaction 
was also a strong civil movement towards national re- 
form, which included a number of serious and sensible 
administrative reforms, which have since been carried 
out. Arabi Pasha was the leader of the National Party, 
and had hopes of convincing fair-minded people of the 
justice of their cause; but many influences, some good 
and some bad, were at work simultaneously to divert 
him from constitutional methods towards making his 
appeal to the violent and fanatical element. 

Just at this time a divergence between English and 
French views in dealing with the situation had mani- 
fested itself, having its root in earlier history. France, 
now as in 1840, was aiming at the policy of detaching 
Egypt from the control of the unprogressive Turks; 
England aimed at the maintenance of the much talked of 
integrity of the Ottoman Empire. The French premier, 
Gambetta, was determined that there should be no in- 
tervention on the part of the Turks. He drafted the 
" Identic Note " in January, 1881, and induced Lord 
Granville, the English Foreign Secretary, to give his 
assent. This note contained the first distinct threat of 
foreign intervention. The result was a genuine and 
spontaneous outburst of Moslem feeling. All parties 


united to protest against foreign intervention, joined by 
the fellaheen, who now saw an opportunity of freeing 
themselves from foreign usurers, to whom they had be- 
come so unjustly indebted. Riots broke out in Alex- 
andria in 1881. Gambetta was replaced by the hesitating 
Freycinet, who looked upon the intervention with alarm, 
and upon Germany with suspicion. England was thus 
at the last moment left to act alone. Past experience 
had taught her that the destiny of Egypt lay in the hands 
of the dominant sea-power of the Mediterranean, and 
that Egypt must not be neglected by the masters of India. 
After a vain attempt to bring about mediation through 
Dervish Pasha, the special commissioner of the Porte, 
it was discovered that the Nationalist Party was too 
little under control to be utilised in any further negotia- 
tions. Ahmed Arabi Pasha had greatly increased his 
influence, and had finally been appointed Minister of 
War. On the 11th of June there was serious rioting, in 
which many Greeks and Maltese, four Englishmen, and 
six Frenchmen were slain. Arabi now stepped forward 
to preserve order, being at this moment practically the 
dictator of Egypt. While endeavouring to maintain 
order, he also threw up earthworks to protect the har- 
bour of Alexandria, and trained the guns upon the British 
fleet. The admiral in charge, Sir Beauchamp Seymour, 
who was waiting for the arrival of the Channel Squadron, 
sent word to the Egyptians to cease the construction of 
fortifications. The request was not fully assented to, 
although it was reinforced by an order from the Porte. 
An ultimatum was presented on July 10, commanding 


Arabi to surrender the forts. The terms were refused, 
and eight ships and five gunboats prepared for action 
on the following day. At the same time the French 
fleet retired upon Port Said. 

The first shot was fired on July 11th, at seven o'clock 
in the morning, by the Alexandrians, and in reply an 
iron hail rained upon the forts of the Egyptians from the 
guns of the British fleet. Arabi 's troops fought well and 
aimed correctly, but their missiles were incapable of 
penetrating the armour of the ironclads. One fort after 
another was silenced. Lord Charles Beresford, in com- 
mand of the gunboat Condor, led a brilliant attack upon 
Fort Marabout. The firing re-opened on the next day, 
and a flag of truce was soon displayed. After some un- 
satisfactory parleying the bombardment was resinned, 
and when a second flag of truce was unfurled it was 
discovered that Arabi Pasha had retreated to Kefr-el- 
Dowar, fourteen miles away from Alexandria. On his 
departure the city was given over to plunder and de- 
struction. The convicts escaped from the prison, and, 
joining forces with the Arabs, looted and burned the 
European quarters. Two thousand persons, mostly 
Greeks and Levantines, were slain, and an enormous 
quantity of property destroyed. Admiral Seymour then 
sent a body of sailors on land, who patrolled the streets 
and shot down the looters, and order was thus finally 
restored in Alexandria. The khedive, who was forced 
to fly for his life to an English steamer, was reinstated 
in the Ras-el-Tin Palace, under an escort of seven hun- 
dred marines. The British admiral was afterwards 


severely criticised for not having put a stop to the rioting 
before it assumed such serious proportions. 

Arabi's army of 6,000 was now increased by 
recruits flocking in from every port in Egypt. After 
considerable pressure had been brought to bear upon the 
khedive, Tewfik issued a proclamation dismissing Arabi 
from his service. To enforce the submission of the 
Arabists, an English army of 33,000 men was gradually 
landed in Egypt, under the command of Sir Garnet 
Wolseley, with an efficient staff, including Sir John Adye, 
Sir Archibald Alison, Sir Evelyn Wood, and General 
Hamley. An Indian contingent also arrived under Gen- 
eral Macpherson. 

Sir Garnet, after making a feint to land near Alex- 
andria, steamed to Port Said and disembarked, moving 
up the Suez Canal in order to join forces with the Indian 
contingent, who were advancing from Suez. Fighting 
took place over the control of the canal at the Mahsameh 
and Kassassin Locks, and at the latter place the British 
cavalry won an important victory over the Egyptian 
advance-guard. Arabi's stronghold was at Tel-el-Kebir, 
and the English were very anxious to win a decisive 
victory before the troops which the sultan was sending 
from Constantinople under Dervish and Baker Pasha 
should arrive. On September 12, 1882, preparations had 
been completed for an advance, and the army of 11,000 
infantry and 2,000 cavalry, with sixty pieces of artillery, 
moved forward during the night to within a mile of 
Arabi's lines. The Egyptians had 2,000 regulars, of 
which number 2,500 were cavalry, with seventy guns, and 


they were also aided by 6,000 Bedouins. Though well 
situated, the army of Arabi was taken by surprise, and 
the following day, in response to the various flanking 
movements of the British, directed by Wolseley, and the 
direct charge of the Highlanders, they made but a very 
indifferent defence. In a brief space of time the Egyp- 
tians were in full retreat, Arabi fleeing to Cairo. The 
Indian contingent occupied Zagazig, and General Drury- 
Lowe rode with his cavalry for thirty-nine miles, and 
entered Cairo on the evening of the 14th. Arabi made 
a dignified surrender, and with him 10,000 men also gave 
themselves up. 

The Nationalist movement was now at an end, the 
various garrisons surrendering one after another, and 
the greater part of the British army left Egypt, 12,000 
men remaining behind to maintain order. The Egyp- 
tian government wished to try Arabi as a rebel in a 
secret tribunal. It was generally believed that this 
would have meant a death sentence. Mr. Wilfrid Blunt, 
a distinguished British Liberal and a friend of Arabi, 
who had often expressed his sympathy with the cause 
of the Nationalists in their endeavour to free Egypt from 
the slavery of the foreign bondholder, now raised a vig- 
orous protest in favour of an open trial. He person- 
ally contributed to the defence of Arabi, and his efforts 
led to the commutation of the sentence of death to* that 
of perpetual exile in Ceylon — a sentence which was 
subsequently very much modified. Arabi Pasha re- 
turned to Egypt in the year 1902, after an exile which 
had lasted about nine years. 



The difficult task of readjusting the government of 
Egypt was then undertaken. Proposals were made to 
France for a modification of the dual control, in which 
France was offered the presidency of the Debt Commis- 
sion. France, however, refused to accept the com- 
promise, and the British government finally determined 
upon independent action. In place of the officials through 


whom the two governments had hitherto exercised the 
control, a single financial adviser was appointed, who 
was not allowed to take part in the direct administration 
of the country. The outline of this adjustment was given 
in a circular note addressed by Lord Granville to the 
Powers. He declared that an army would remain in 
Egypt as long as it was required; representative insti- 
tutions were to be created; the Egyptian army and gen- 
darmery were to be placed in the hands of Englishmen; 


the Diara estates were to be economically managed; for- 
eigners were to be placed upon the same footing as natives 
in regard to taxation. The other Powers, including Tur- 
key but excluding France, accepted the agreement. The 
office of financial adviser was given to Sir Edgar Vincent. 

The important work of the reconstruction of Egypt 
now began in earnest. Sir Benson Maxwell set about 
establishing an effective means for the impartial admin- 
istration of justice, and Colonel Moncrieff undertook the 
responsibility for the work of irrigation. Mr. Clifford 
Lloyd created a police system, reorganised the prisons 
and hospitals, and set free the untried prisoners. Baker 
Pasha formed a provincial gendarmery, and Sir Evelyn 
Wood organised an army of six thousand men. 

In the year 1883, while this work of reconstruction 
was proceeding, a religious insurrection, which had orig- 
inated two years previously, was forced upon the notice 
of the government. It has already been related that the 
Ismailian sect of the Muhammedans had introduced the 
doctrine of a coming Messiah, or Mahdi, who was to be 
the last of the imans, and the incarnation of the universal 
soul. 1 

Not a few impostors had exploited this doctrine to 
their own advantage, and some of the Arabian tribes 
were firmly convinced that the Mahdi had come, and 
that the Mahdis who had appeared to their kinsmen else- 
where were merely clever charlatans. In the year 1881 
Muhammed Ahmet, a religious leader among the Moslem 
Arabs in the Central African provinces of Kordofan and 

1 See Volume XL, page 375. 


Darfur, proclaimed himself as the Mahdi, and called 
upon the Muhammedans to initiate a holy war. 

The Mahdi 's continued advances were rendered pos- 
sible by the precarious state of affairs in Egypt. After 
a settlement was effected in 1883, Hicks Pasha, an officer 
of courage and ability, who had retired from the Indian 
army, gathered 11,000 men at Omdurman to quell the 
Mahdist insurrection. With this force he started up the 
Nile and struck across the desert to El-Obeid, where his 
troops were decoyed into a ravine, and after three days' 
fighting his whole army was annihilated by the Mahdist 
army numbering about 300,000 men. The entire Sudan 
then revolted against Egypt. The redoubtable Osman 
Digna appeared with the Hadendowa Arabs off the coast 
of the Red Sea, and harassed the Egyptian garrison. 
Osman defeated Captain Moncrieff and an army of 3,000 
Bashi-Bazouks led by Baker Pasha. Egypt, under the 
advisement of the British government, then attempted 
to withdraw from the Sudan. It was decided that the 
western provinces of Kordofan and Dafur should be 
abandoned, but that important centres like Khartum on 
the Nile should be preserved, at least for a time. Here 
all the Egyptian colonists were to congregate. If the 
revolting Arab tribes, called by the general name of 
Dervishes, would not come to friendly terms with the 
settlers, then, in time, it was decided that Khartum itself, 
and every other locality in the Sudan, should be entirely 
relinquished, except the ports of the Red Sea. 

General Gordon was sent to Khartum to make terms 
with the Mahdi and prepare for eventualities. The 



evacuation of this place was almost immediately decided 
upon by the British Cabinet, and Gordon arrived on Feb- 
ruary 18, 1884, but, being unsupported by European 
troops, he found the position an exceedingly difficult one 
to maintain. The Mahdi scorned his overtures, and 
Osman Digna was daily closing in upon the Egyptian 
port of Suakin. The British then determined to act with 
vigour. Sinkitat had fallen on February 8th, and to 

protect Tokar and Suakin 
they landed four thousand 
men and fought a fierce 
battle with nine thousand 
Hadendowas at El - Teb 
February 28, 1884. The 
Egyptian garrison of To- 
kar, when the British armv 
arrived, was found to have 
compromised with the 
Mahdists. Later on was 
fought the battle of Tamai 
against Osman Digna, dur- 
ing which a body of Arabs 
rushed the British guns 
and broke up the formation 
of their square. The Brit- 
ish were on the point of defeat, but they managed to 
recover the lost guns, and scatter the Hadendowas. 

General Gordon's situation was now extremelv crit- 
leal. It was hoped that an army might advance from 
Suakin across the desert to Berber, and then ascend the 



Nile to Khartum. In the meantime, Gordon urgently 
called for help, and, after interminable delays, in the 
autumn of 1884, an English army under Lord Wolseley 
started up the Nile to relieve him. The troops of Wolse- 
ley were aided by a camel corps of one thousand men, 
who were organised to make a rush across the desert. 
On the 16th of January, 1885, the camel troops came 
up with the enemy and fought the decisive battle of 
Matammeh. The Mahdist troops were mown down by 
rifles and Gatling-guns as soon as they were within short 
range. Immediately after the battle, Sir Charles Wilson 
determined to use the Egyptian flotilla to make an im- 
mediate advance. The steamers were protected, and a 
small relief force started on January 24th. They came 
in sight of Khartum on the 28th, but were fired upon 
from every side. At this moment, a native called from 
the bank that the city had fallen, and that the heroic 
Gordon had been killed. 

A history of Egypt would be incomplete without some 
account of that leader whose bravery, humanitarian 
views, and understanding of the Oriental character have 
made him famous among the pioneers of Christian civ- 
ilisation in Asia and Africa. Fresh from his laurels 
won in the service of the Chinese government in sup- 
pressing the Tai-peng rebellion, Gordon returned to 
England in 1871. In 1874 he accepted a position from 
Egypt, with the consent of the British government. He 
journeyed to Cairo and up the Nile to take up the com- 
mand as governor of the Equatorial Provinces in succes- 
sion to Sir Samuel Baker. There he laboured with 


incessant energy to put down the slave-trade and to 
secure the welfare of the natives. He established a series 
of Egyptian outposts along the Abyssinian frontier and 
made a survey of Lake Albert Nyanza. Returning to 
Cairo in 1874, after some delay, he was appointed by 
Ismail Pasha as governor-general of the whole of the 
Egyptian Sudan. A war followed with Abyssinia, and, 
after the army, led by Egyptian officers, had been beaten 
twice, Gordon went to Massowah to negotiate with the 
Abyssinian monarch, Atti Johannes. He next proceeded 
to Khartum, and vigorously undertook the suppression 
of the slave-trade. 

Gordon's death at Khartum, in 1884, is one of the 
greatest tragedies of modern history. Supported neither 
by Egypt nor by the English army, of a different religion 
from all his followers, pressed on all sides by the Mah- 
dist forces, Gordon gallantly kept his few faithful fol- 
lowers at his side, and, with incessant activity and 
heroism, protected the remaining Egyptian colonists of 
the cities along the Nile, over which he still held control. 
He had called upon the British government to send aid 
across the desert from Suakin via Berber, but this re- 
quest had been denied him. Berber then fell, and he was 
cut off to the north by many hundred miles of territory 
occupied by Mahdists. On January the 1st, nearly a 
month before the long-delayed succour approached the 
beleaguered city, the provisions had given out. He had 
written on December 14th that, with two hundred men, 
he could have successfully kept up the defence. As his 
army had been starving since the 5th of January, it is 













difficult to understand how he managed to hold out till 
January the 26th. On this date, two days before the 
relief expedition approached, the Mahdi's troops at- 
tacked Khartum, and, finding Gordon's men too weak to 
fight, the defences were cut down, and the heroic Gordon 
was killed by a shot at the head of the steps of the palace. 

Upon learning of the death of Gordon, the relief ex- 
pedition retreated, finding that the object of their ad- 
vance had proved to be a hopeless one. A general evac- 
uation was begun, and Dongola and the whole country 
south of Wady Haifa surrendered. The Mahdi, soon 
after winning Khartum, died, and was succeeded by the 
Califa Abdulla at Taashi. This change facilitated the 
Anglo-Egyptian retreat. About the same time Slatin 
Bey surrendered in Darfur and embraced Muhammedan- 
ism, and Lupton Bey, following his example, also adopted 
the religion of Islam, and yielded in Bahr-el-Ghazel. 
Emin Pasha alone retained his authority, derived orig- 
inally from Egypt, in the province of Equatoria. Sir 
H. M. Stanley afterwards made his famous journey 
a Through Darkest Africa " and rescued this famous 
pasha. This noted explorer died May 9, 1904. 

In the autumn of 1885, the dervish Emir of Dongola, 
Muhammed el-Kheir, advanced upon the Egyptian fron- 
tier. On December 30th he was met by the Egyptian 
troops under Sir Frederick Stephenson. The Egyptian 
troops, unaided by Europeans, attacked the dervishes at 
Ginnis and totally defeated them, winning two guns and 
twenty banners. It was a source of much gratification 
that the Egyptian fellaheen had proved themselves so 



courageous and well disciplined in the encounter with 
the fierce hosts of the desert. 

In October, 1886, Wad en Nejumi, the victor of El- 
Obeid, was sent by the califa to invade Egypt. The 


advance of this army was delayed by trouble within the 
Sudan; but the califa, having at length beaten his ene- 
mies, in the year 1889 sent large reinforcements north- 
wards to carry on the campaign against Egypt with 
vigour. The Egyptian troops, with one squadron of 


hussars, fought a decisive engagement with Wad en 
Nejumi on August 3rd of the same year. The dervish 
leader, many of his emirs, and twelve hundred Arab 
warriors were slain; four thousand more were taken 
prisoners, and 147 dervish standards were captured. 

The ever-increasing progress of Egypt during the 
next ten years, together with the accounts received from 
escaped prisoners of the reign of terror and inhumanity 
which obtained in the Sudan, brought the question of 
the reconquest of the lost provinces once more into prom- 
inence. The Italians had met with a fearful disaster 
in fighting against the Abyssinians at the battle of Adowa 
on March 1, 1896. They were holding Kassala within the 
ex-Egyptian territory by invitation from England, and 
a reason was presented for attacking the dervishes else- 
where in order to draw off their army from Kassala. 
With the appointment of Sir Henry Kitchener, on March 
11, 1896, as sirdar of the Egyptian army, the final period 
of hostilities was entered upon between Egypt and the 


independent Arabs of the Central African Provinces. 

General Kitchener was ordered to build a railroad 
up the Nile, and to push forward with a well-organised 
Egyptian army, whose chief officers were Englishmen. 
The whole scheme of the invasion was planned with con- 
summate forethought and deliberation, the officials and 
advisers in charge of the enterprise being chosen from 
the most tried and able experts in their several provinces. 
Lieut.-Col. E. P. C. Girouard, a brilliant young Canadian, 
undertook the work of railroad reconstruction. Col. 
L. Rundle was chief of the staff, and Major R. Wingate 


head of the Intelligence Department, ably assisted by 
the ex-prisoner of the califa, Slatin Bey. The army con- 
sisted in the beginning almost entirely of Egyptian and 
Sudanese troops, together with one battalion of the North 
Staffordshire Regiment. There were eight battalions of 
artillery, eight camel corps, and sixty-three gunboats 
which steamed up the Nile. 

After some sharp skirmishing, the advance was made 
to Dongola, when the English battalion was sent home 
disabled, and in time was replaced by a strong English 
brigade under General Gatacre. Early in 1897, a rail- 
road had been thrown across the desert from Wady Haifa 
towards Abu Hamed, obviating the need of making an 
immense detour around the bend of the Nile near Don- 
gola. The califa had, by this time, organised his defence. 
The Jaalin tribe had revolted against him at Metammeh, 
and had sought for help from the Egyptians, but before 
the supply of rifles arrived, the dervishes under the Emir 
Mahmud stormed Metammeh and annihilated the whole 
tribe of the Jaalin Arabs. 

The van of the army of invasion, both the flying corps 
and the flotilla of gunboats, advanced upon Abu Hamed 
towards the end of August. Major-General Hunter car- 
ried the place by storm. Berber was found to be de- 
serted, and was occupied on September 5th. Hunter 
burned Adarama and reconnoitred on the Atbara. The 
gunboats bombarded Metammeh and reduced the place 
to ruins. The sirdar, General Kitchener, then went on 
a mission to Kassala, where he found the Italians anxious 
to evacuate. He thereupon made an agreement whereby 


the Egyptians should occupy the place, which was ac- 
cordingly accomplished under Colonel Parsons on Christ- 
mas Day, 1897. Disagreements among the dervishes pre- 
vented them from making any concerted defence, and 
early in 1896 Kitchener renewed the advance and cap- 
tured the dervish stores at Shendy on March 27th. The 
zeriba or camp of Mahmud was attacked and stormed 
with great loss to the dervishes on the 5th of April. 

On the date scheduled beforehand by Lord Kitchener, 
just after the annual rains had refreshed the country, 
the Anglo-Egyptian army made its final advance upon 
Khartum. There were ten thousand British troops and 
fifteen thousand Egyptians. The forces were concen- 
trated at Wady Hamed, sixty miles above Omdurman, 
from which point they bombarded the city with shells 
filled with deadly lyddite, and the mosque and tomb of 
the late Mahdi were destroyed. At length the entire 
army advanced to within four miles of Khartum. On 
September 2nd the cavalry and a horse battery reached 
Kasar Shanbal. From this point they saw the whole 
army of the califa, consisting of from forty to fifty thou- 
sand men, advancing to confront them from behind the 
hills. The Anglo-Egyptians advanced to meet the der- 
vishes disposed in the form of a horseshoe, with either 
end resting upon the banks of the river. At intervals 
along the whole line of the army were field-pieces and 
Maxims, and the gunboats were within reach to aid in 
shelling the enemy. The British soldiers then built a 
square sand rampart called a zarilea, and their Egyp- 
tian allies dug defensive trenches. 


On the front and left the dervishes came on in great 
strength, but, when the Maxims, the field-guns, and the 
repeating rifles opened fire upon them, at a compara- 
tively close range, a frightful havoc was the result. All 
who remained to fight were immediately shot down, and 
the whole field was cleared in fifteen minutes. The der- 
vishes retreated behind the hills, and were joined by fresh 
forces. General MacDonald, in making a detour with a 
body of Lancers, was suddenly beset by two thousand 
dervish riflemen, who fiercely charged him on three sides. 
Quickly forming a square, he succeeded by desperate 
efforts in repelling the enemy, until he was reinforced 
by Kitchener, who perceived his desperate situation. 

The califa then attacked the extreme left wing of the 
army, but was again driven off. The Anglo-Egyptians 
were now in a position to deliver the main attack upon 
the dervish defences. The troops of the califa fought 
with heroic bravery, fearlessly advancing within range 
of the Anglo-Egyptian fire, but each time they were 
mown down by the cross fire of the Maxims and rifles. 
Vast numbers were slain, and some divisions of the der- 
vishes suffered complete annihilation. They left ten 
thousand dead upon the field, and ten thousand wounded. 
The rest fled in all directions, a scattered and straggling 
force, with the califa himself. The Anglo-Egyptians lost 
but two thousand men. Few prisoners were taken, for, 
in almost every instance, the dervishes refused to sur- 
render, and even when wounded used their swords and 
spears against the rescuers of the ambulance corps. All 
the fighting was over by midday, and in the afternoon 


General Kitchener entered Omdurman, and the army 
encamped in the vicinity. Slatin Bey was duly installed 
as governor in the name of the Egyptian khedive. The 
European prisoners of the califa were now released, and 
on Sunday, the 4th of September, the sirdar and all his 
army held a solemn service in memory of General Gordon 
near the spot where he was killed. 

Bodies of men were now sent out on all sides to pacify 
the country, and the sirdar, who had been elevated to 
the peerage as Lord Kitchener of Khartum, started on 
an expedition up the Nile in a gunboat, in order to settle 
the difficult question arising from the occupation of 
Fashoda by a French corps under Major Marchand. The 
ability and strategy of this French commander were of 
a very high order. The general plan of the expedition 
had been in accord with French military traditions, based 
upon former attempts in India and America to separate 
the British colonial dominions, or to block the way to 
their extension by establishing a series of military out- 
posts or forts at certain strategic points chosen for this 
purpose. Had the French designs under Desaix in India, 
or of the army of occupation in the Mississippi Valley 
in the eighteenth century, been supported by a powerful 
fleet, there is no doubt that British colonisation would 
have suffered a severe setback. If Major Marchand 
remained in Fashoda, the route to all the upper regions 
of the Nile would be cut off from any English or Egyp- 
tian enterprise. Accordingly, Lord Kitchener ran the 
risk of grave international complications by advancing 
upon Fashoda to meet Major Marchand. Fortunately, a 


temporary agreement was entered upon that the home 
governments should decide the question at issue, and 
Lord Kitchener then hoisted the Anglo-Egyptian flag 
south of the French settlement, and the officers frater- 
nised over glasses of champagne. 

It is now believed that Russia would have aided 
France if it had come to a war, but the French govern- 
ment thought the affair not of sufficient importance to 
warrant an international struggle over the retention of 
Fashoda, and the respective spheres of influence of 
France and Great Britain were finally agreed upon early 
in the following year by the Niger Convention, which 
left the whole of the ex-Egyptian provinces under Brit- 
ish protection, as far south as the Equatorial Lakes, and 
as far west as the border line between Darfur and Wadai. 

The califa was subsequently pursued from place to 
place in the desert, and was at length overtaken by Colo- 
nel Wingate at Om Dubreikat. The dervish leader 
fought a desperate fight; and, refusing to fly, was slain 
with all his personal followers on November 26, 1899. 

The total cost of these campaigns had been incredibly 
small, not amounting in all to the total of $12,000,000, 
and the railroad, the cost of which is here included in 
the expenditure, is of permanent value to Egypt. 

After the re-occupation of Khartum, it was again, 
as in Gordon's time, made the seat of government, the 
dervish capital having been located across the Nile at 
Omdurman. For a memorial to Gordon, $500,000 was 
enthusiastically raised in England. The memorial took 
the practical form of an educational establishment for 


the natives of the Sudan, the foundation-stone of which 
was laid by Lord Cromer in January, 1900. The school 
is intended to be exclusively for Muhammedans, and only 
the Moslem religion is to be taught within its walls. 

Though the Mahdism, of which the late califa had 
been the leading spirit, had degenerated into a struggle 
of slave-traders versus civilisation, the califa at least 
showed conspicuous courage in the manner in which he 
faced his death. For the last twenty years, during which 
the revolts of the dervishes had troubled the outlying 
provinces of the Egyptian dominions, trade had been 
almost at a standstill; large numbers of blacks had been 
enslaved; an equal number probably had been slaugh- 
tered, and whole regions depopulated. The total popu- 
lation was cut down during these years to one-half of 
what it previously had been, and it was of vital impor- 
tance to Egypt to reconquer all the lost provinces which 
lay upon the banks of the river Nile. If the prosperity 
of Egypt is to rest upon a sound basis, and not be sub- 
jected to periodic overthrow at the hands of the hostile 
inhabitants of the south, it is essential that the Upper 
Nile should be under the control of those who are respon- 
sible for the welfare of the country. Egypt is the gift 
of the Nile, and the entire population of Egypt is de- 
pendent upon this river. To secure prosperity for the 
country and to develop Egyptian resources to the fullest 
extent, the rulers of Egypt must also be the rulers of 
the Nile. When the Anglo-Egyptian expedition under 
Kitchener set out to reconquer the Sudan, the devel- 
opment of Egypt had been progressing in all directions 



at a rapid rate. Having greater interests to defend, less 
indebtedness to meet, and greater facilities for meeting 
the taxes due the home government, no less than the for- 
eign bondholders, the time was ripe in which to take 
that great step towards securing the prosperity of Egypt 
in the future by finally destroying the community of 
slaveholders, which, under the sanction of Mahdism, 


brutally tyrannised over the non-Muhammedan popula- 

Prom the beginning of the British occupation, the 
English have been engaged in persevering efforts at re- 
form in every branch of the administration. The reforms 
which they instituted in the different departments of the 
army, finance, public works, and the police system were 
not at first popular. The native officials found out that 
they could not use methods of extortion; the upper 
classes, the pashas, and the wealthy landowners also 


discovered that they were not at liberty to do as they 
pleased, and that the English inspectors of irrigation 
strictly regulated the water-supply. It has since been 
fully demonstrated that the curtailing of their privilege 
to make use of the water when and how they chose is 
more than compensated by improved conditions. 

During the fifteen years previous to 1898, the popu- 
lation of Egypt had increased by about three million, or 
forty-three per cent. It was then ten million; it is now 
nearly eleven million. Within the boundaries of the irri- 
gated land Egypt has always been a very populous coun- 
try. By the effort to expand this area of irrigation, the 
way was prepared for a considerable increase in the total 
population. There are sections of this land where the 
density of the population averages from seven to eight 
hundred or even a thousand persons to the square mile. 
In early times, the population was still greater, as the 
irrigation area was increased by the great reservoir of 
Lake Moeris. When Omar made a census (a. d. 640), 
there were to be found six million Kopts, exclusive of 
the aged, the young, and the women, and three hundred 
thousand Greeks: this would imply, even at that deca- 
dent period, a total population of fifteen million. 

The increased prosperity shown by the railroads is 
most satisfactory. Two hundred and twelve miles of 
new railroad have been constructed, and an enormous 
development of the railroad and telegraph business has 
resulted. Since the year 1897 railroad development has 
been very rapid, and, with the line to the Sudan, 
amounted in 1904 to some two thousand miles. From 


the Sudan railway it is intended ultimately to extend a 
railroad system through the heart of Africa, from Cairo 
to Capetown. 

Great progress has been made in all departments of 
public works. Hundreds of agricultural roads have been 
built, and the mileage of canals and drains has been 
largely increased to the very great benefit of the Egyp- 
tian peasant. 

The quantity of salt sold was doubled between 1881 
and 1897, while the price has been reduced nearly forty 
per cent. The tonnage of the port of Alexandria in- 
creased from 1,250,000 pounds to 2,549,739 between 1881 
and 1901. This increase was paralleled by a like increase 
in Alexandria's great rival, Port Said. 

Sir Evelyn Baring (Viscount Cromer) was appointed 
consul-general and financial adviser to Egypt in Janu- 
ary, 1884, succeeding in this position Sir Edward Malet. 
Sir Evelyn was nominally the financial adviser, but prac- 
tically the master of Egypt. The khedive never ventured 
to oppose the carrying oul; of his wishes, since the Brit- 
ish army of occupation was ever at his beck and call to 
lend its weight to the commands which he issued to the 
government under the appearance of friendly advice. 

The most serious obstacle to the progress of Egypt 
has been the authority of the mixed administrations, the 
chief of which is the Caisse de la Dette. The main ob- 
ject of these administrations is to secure for European 
bondholders payment of the debts incurred by Egypt 
chiefly under the incredibly profligate government of 
Ismail Pasha. The Caisse de la Dette has commissions 


from six of the Powers. It receives from the tax-gath- 
erer all the taxes apportioned to the payment of the 
interest for foreign indebtedness. Its influence, how- 
ever, extends much farther, and the Caisse exercises the 
right of prohibiting expenditure on the part of the Egyp- 
tian government until its own demands for current in- 
terest have been complied with. It further has the right 
to veto any loan which the Egyptian government might 
be willing to raise, however urgent the necessity might 
be, unless it can be demonstrated that there is not the 
least likelihood that payment of the shareholders whom 
the Caisse represents will be in the least degree affected. 
If all that the Caisse claimed as belonging to its juris- 
diction were really allowed to it by the Anglo-Egyptian 
government, the Caisse or International Court might 
exercise an arbitrary control over Egyptian affairs. It 
has many times seriously attempted to block the prog- 
ress of Egypt with the sole aim of considering the pockets 
of the foreign shareholders, and in entire disregard to 
the welfare of the people. 

Added to this tribunal is the Railway Board and the 
Commissions of the Daira and Domains. The Railway 
Board administers the railroads, telegraphs, and the port 
of Alexandria. The Daira and Domains Commissions 
administer the large estates, mortgaged to the holders 
of the loans raised by Ismail Pasha under these two re- 
spective names. The Daira Estate yielded a surplus over 
and above the amount of interest on the debt paid, for 
the first time, in 1890. The Domain Estate had to face 
a deficit until the year 1900. Until these respective dates 


the Egyptian government itself was obliged to pay the 
deficit due to the bondholders. 

In the year 1884, the Convention of London was 
signed by the European Powers, which was, however, for 
the most part, oppressive and unjust to the Egyptians. 
The amount of money raised by taxation, which was 
allowed to be spent in one year, was limited to the defi- 
nite sum of $25,927,890. Fortunately for Egypt, the 
London Convention had one clause by which $44,760,000 
could be utilised for the development of the country. 
With this sum the indemnities of Alexandria were paid, 
defects in the payment of interest were made good, and 
a small sum was left wherewith to increase irrigation 
and other useful works. The criminal f ollv of the former 
lavish expenditure was now demonstrated by a brilliant 
object-lesson. This small sum, when kept out of the 
hands of the rapacious bondholders, and applied to the 
development of the rich soil of Egypt, was found to work 
wonders. From the moment when the finances of Egypt 
were for the first time used to develop what is naturally 
the richest soil in the world, progress towards betterment 
grew rapidly into the remarkable prosperity of to-day. 
For a time, however, the government was obliged to use 
extreme parsimony in order to keep the country from 
further falling under the control of the irresponsible 
bondholders. Finally, in the year 1888, Sir Evelyn Bar- 
ing wrote to the home government that the situation was 
so far improved that in his judgment " it would take a 
series of untoward events seriously to endanger the 
stability of Egyptian finance and the solvency of the 



Egyptian government/ The corner had been turned, 
and progressive financial relief was at length afforded 
the long-suffering Egyptian people in the year 1890. 
After several years of financial betterment, it was de- 

s * 



cided to devote future surpluses to remunerative objects, 
such as works of irrigation, railway extension, the con- 
struction of hospitals, prisons, and other public build- 
ings, and in the improvement of the system of education. 
Great difficulty was experienced in making use of this 


surplus, on account of technical hindrances which were 
persistently placed in the way of the Egyptian govern- 
ment by the Caisse de la Dette. These difficulties are 
now almost entirely removed. 

In 1896 it was decided,' as has been narrated, to be 
for the interest of Egypt to start a campaign against the 
dervishes. Appeal was made to the Caisse de la Dette 
to raise additional funds for the necessary expenses of 
the projected campaign. The Caisse, following its uni- 
versal precedent, immediately vetoed the project. Eng- 
land then made special grants-in-aid to Egypt, which 
both aided the Egyptian government and greatly 
strengthened her hold upon Egypt. By means of this 
timely assistance, Egypt was enabled successfully to 
pass through the period of increased expenditure in- 
curred by the reconquest of the Sudan. 

During the lifetime of Khedive Tewfik, who owed his 
throne to the British occupation, there had been little 
or no disagreement between the British and Egyptian 
authorities. In the year 1887 Sir Henry Drummond 
Wolff prepared a convention, in accordance with which 
England promised to leave Egypt within three years 
from that date. At the last moment the sultan, urged 
by Prance and Russia, refused to sign it, and the occu- 
pation which these two Powers would not agree to 
legalise even for a period of three years was now less 
likely than ever to terminate. The following year Tewfik 
dismissed Nubar Pasha, who had, by the advice of the 
foreign Powers, stood in the way of reforms planned by 
the English officials. 

ABBAS II. 225 

Tewfik died in 1892, and was succeeded by Abbas 
Hilmi Pasha, called officially Abbas II. He was born in 
1874, and was barely of age according to Turkish law, 
which fixes magistracy at eighteen years of age in the 
case of the succession to the throne. He came directly 
from the college at Vienna to Cairo, where his accession 
was celebrated with great pomp; and the firman, con- 
firming him in all the powers, privileges, and territorial 
rights which his father had enjoyed, was read from the 
steps of the palace in Abdin Square. For some time the 
new khedive did not cooperate with cordiality with Great 
Britain. He was young and eager to exercise his power. 
His throne had not been saved for him by the British, 
as his father's had been, and he was surrounded by in- 
triguers, who were scheming always for their own 
advantage. He at first appeared almost as unprogressive 
as his great-uncle, Abbas L, but he later learned to under- 
stand the importance of British counsels. During his 
visit to England in 1899 he frankly acknowledged the 
great good which England had done in Egypt, and de- 
clared himself ready to cooperate with the officials ad- 
ministering British affairs. This friendliness was a great 
change from the disposition which ho had shown in pre- 
vious years, during the long-drawn-out dispute between 
himself and Sir Evelyn Baring regarding the appoint- 
ment of Egyptian officials. The controversy at one time 
indicated a grave crisis, and it is reported that on one 
occasion the British agent ordered the army to make 
a demonstration before the palace, and pointed out to 
the young ruler the folly of forcing events which would 


inevitably lead to his dethronement. The tension was 
gradually relaxed, and compromises brought about which 
resulted in harmony between the khedive and the British 
policy of administration, and no one rejoiced more than 
Abbas Hilmi over the victory of Omdurman. 

Agricultural interests are dearer to the heart of the 
khedive than statecraft. He rides well, drives well, rises 
early, and is of abstemious habits. Turkish is his mother 
tongue, but he talks Arabic with fluency and speaks 
English, French, and German very well. 

An agreement between England and Egypt had been 
entered upon January 19, 1899, in regard to the admin- 
istration of the Sudan. According to this agreement, 
the British and Egyptian flags were to be used together, 
and the supreme military and civil command was vested 
in the governor-general, who is appointed by the khedive 
on the recommendation of the British government, and 
who cannot be removed without the latter 's consent. 
This has proved so successful that the governor-general, 
Sir Reginald Wingate, reported in 1901: 

" I record my appreciation of the manner in which 
the officers, non-commissioned officers, soldiers, and 
officials,— British, Egyptian, and Sudanese,— without 
distinction, have laboured during the past year to push 
on the work of regenerating the country. Nor can I pass 
over without mention the loyal and valuable assistance 
I have received from many of the loyal ulemas, sheiks, 
and notables, who have displayed a most genuine desire 
to see their country once more advancing in the path 
of progress, material success, and novel development." 




In 1898 there were in all about 10,000 schools, with 
17,000 teachers and 228,000 pupils. Seven-eighths of 
these schools were elementary, the education being con- 
fined to reading, writing, and the rudiments of arithmetic. 
The government has under its immediate direction 
eighty-seven schools of the lowest grade, called kuttabs, 
and thirty-five of the higher grades, three secondary, two 
girls' schools, and ten schools for higher or professional 
education,— the school of law, the school of medicine, 
with its pharmaceutical school and its school for nursing 
and obstetrics, polytechnic schools for civil engineers, 
two training-schools for schoolmasters, a school of agri- 
culture, two technical schools, one training-school for 
female teachers, and the military school. In addition 
to the schools belonging to the Ministry of Pliblic In- 
struction, there were under the inspection of that depart- 
ment in 1901 twenty-three primary schools of the higher 
grade, with an attendance of 3,585, and 845 schools of 
the lowest grade, with 1,364 teachers and an attendance 
of 26,831 pupils. There are 187 schools attached to 
various Protestant and Catholic missions, and forty- 
three European private schools. 

The Koptic community supports one thousand schools 
for elementary education, twenty-seven primary boys' 
and girls' schools, and one college. The teaching of the 
Koptic language in the schools is now compulsory; the 
subjects taught, and the methods of teaching them, are 
the same as in vogue in other countries. Fifty per cent, 
of the Koptic male population can read and write well. 
The indigenous tribunals of the country are called 


Mekkemmehs, and are presided over by cadis. At the 
present time they retain jurisdiction in matters of per- 
sonal law relating to marriage succession, guardian- 
ship, etc. Beyond this sphere they also fulfil certain 
functions connected with the registration of title of land. 
In matters of personal law, however, the native Chris- 
tians are subject to their own patriarchs or other relig- 
ious leaders. 

In other matters, natives are justiciable before the 
so-called native tribunals, established during the period 
of the British occupation. These consist of forty-six 
summary tribunals, each presided over by a single judge, 
who is empowered to exercise jurisdiction in matters up 
to $500 in value, and criminal jurisdiction in offences 
punishable by fine or by imprisonment of three years 
or less. Associated with these are seven central tri- 
bunals, each chamber consisting of three judges. There 
is also a court of appeal in Cairo, one-half of its members 
being Europeans. In criminal matters there is always 
a right to appeal, sometimes to the court of appeal, some- 
times to a central tribunal. In civil matters an appeal 
lies from a summary tribunal to a central tribunal in 
matters exceeding $500 in value, and from the judg- 
ment of a central tribunal in the first instance to the 
court of appeal in all cases. The prosecution in criminal 
matters is entrusted to the parquet, which is directed by 
a procurer-general; the investigation of crime is ordi- 
narily conducted by the parquet, or by the police under 
its direction. Offences against irrigation laws, which 
were once of such frequent occurrence and the occasion 


of injustice and lawlessness, are now tried by special and 
summary administration tribunals. 

The capitulations or agreements concerning justice 
entered into by all the Great Powers of Europe and the 
Ottoman Empire, relative to the trial and judgment of 
Europeans, include Egypt as an integral part of the 
Turkish Empire. Foreigners for this reason have the 
privilege of being tried by European courts. But if one 
party in a case is European and another Egyptian, there 
are special mixed tribunals, established in 1876, consist- 
ing partly of native and partly of foreign judges. These 
tribunals settle civil and also some criminal cases be- 
tween Egyptians and Europeans, and in 1900 penal 
jurisdiction was conferred upon them in connection with 
offences against the bankruptcy laws. 

There are three mixed tribunals of the first class, with 
a court of appeal, sitting at Alexandria. Civil cases 
between foreigners of the same nationality are tried be- 
fore their own consular courts, which also try criminal 
cases not within the jurisdiction of the mixed tribunals, 
in which the accused are foreigners. By this well or- 
ganised administration of justice, crime has steadily 
decreased throughout Egypt, and the people have learned 
to enjoy the benefit of receiving impartial justice, from 
which they had been shut off for many centuries. 

About sixty per cent, of the inhabitants of modern 
Egypt belong to the agricultural class— the fellaheen. 
The peasantry are primitive and thrifty in their habits, 
and hold tenaciously to their ancient traditions. They are 
a healthy race, good-tempered and tractable, and fairly 



intelligent, but, like all Southern nations breathing a 
balmy atmosphere, they are unprogressive. Centuries of 
oppression have not, however, crushed their cheerfulness. 
There is none of that abject misery of poverty among the 


Egyptians which is to be seen in cold countries. There is 
no starvation amongst them. Food is cheap, and a 
peasant can live well on a piastre (five cents) a day. 
A single cotton garment is enough for clothing, and the 


merest hut affords sufficient protection. The wants of 
the Egyptians are few. Their condition, now freed from 
forced labour, called the " Courbash," as also from in- 
justice, crushing taxation, and usury, which character- 
ised former administrations, compares favourably with 
the peasantry of many countries in Europe, and is equal, 
if not superior, to that of the peasantry of England itself. 

Under the British protection there has been a re- 
newal of the Koptic Christian race. They are easily to 
be distinguished from their Muhammedan countrymen, 
being lighter in colour, and resembling the portraits on 
the ancient monuments. They are a strong community 
in Upper Egypt, whither they fled from the Arab in- 
vaders, and they there hold a large portion of the land. 
They live mostly in the towns, are better educated than 
other Egyptians, and are employed frequently in the 
government service as clerks and accountants. 

Koptic is still studied for church purposes by the 
Kopts, who both by their physiognomy and by their re- 
tention of the old Egyptian institution of monasticism 
are the only true descendants having the social and phys- 
ical heredity of the ancient Egyptians. Four of the 
oldest monasteries in the world still survive in the Natron 
Valley. In spite of their distinguished social ancestry, 
the Kopts are by no means a superior class morally to 
the fellaheen, who are in part the descendants of those 
ancient Egyptians who renounced the Christian religion, 
the language and institutions of the Egyptian Christians, 
and accepted Muhammedanism and the Arabic language 
and institutions. 


The creed of the Kopts is Jacobite. They have three 
metropolitans and twelve bishops in Egypt, one metro- 
politan and two bishops in Abyssinia, and one bishop 
in Khartum. There are also arch-priests, priests, dea- 
cons, and monks. Priests must be married before ordi- 
nation, but celibacy is imposed upon monks and high 
dignitaries. The Abyssinian Church is ruled by a met- 
ropolitan, and bishops are chosen from amongst the 
Egyptian-Koptic ecclesiastics, nor can the coronation 
of the King of Abyssinia take place until he has been 
anointed by the metropolitan, and this only after the 
authorisation by the Patriarch of Alexandria. 





The White and Blue Niles : The Barrage ; Clearing the Sudd : The Suez 
Canal : Ancient and modern irrigation : The Dam at Aswan : The modern 
exploration of the Nile. 

ETWEEN the Sudan and the Mediter- 
ranean the only perennial stream is the 
Nile, a word probably derived from the 
Semitic root nahal, meaning a valley 
or a river-valley, and subsequently a 
" river," in a pre-eminent and exclusive 
sense. The ancient Egyptians called it the Ar or Aur 
(Koptic, Iaro), or " black "; hence the Greek word 
/ie'\a<? in allusion to the colour, not of the water, but 
of the sediment which it precipitated during the floods. 
In contrast to the yellow sands of the surrounding desert, 
the Nile mud is black enough to have given the land 
itself its oldest name, Kem, or Kemi, which has the same 
meaning of " black." At Khartum, where the White 
Nile joins the Blue Nile, the main branch has a fall from 
its upper level in the region of the tropical lakes, four 



thousand feet above the sea, to twelve hundred feet, 
while traversing a distance of twenty-three hundred 
miles. From Khartum to the sea the distance through 
which the waters of the Nile w r end their way is about 
eighteen hundred and forty miles. During the greater 
part of this course the flow is level, the average descent 
being about eight inches per mile. If it were not, there- 
fore, for the obstruction met with in the Nubian section, 
the course of the Nile would be everywhere navigable. 
Although no perennial affluents enter the main stream 
lower dow r n than Khartum, the volume of the Nile re- 
mains with little diminution throughout the entire dis- 
tance to the Mediterranean. During the period of low 
water the amount of water in different localities is still 
uniform, notwithstanding all the irrigation, infiltration, 
and evaporation constantly taking place. The only ex- 
planation which has been given to this phenomenon is 
that there are hidden wells in the bed of the Nile, and 
from their flow the waste is ever renewed. 

As the earth revolves from west to east, the waters 
of the Nile tend to be driven upon the right bank on 
the west, where the current is constantly eating away 
the sandstone and limestone cliffs. For this reason the 
left side of the river is far more fertile and well cultivated 
than the right bank. Below Ombos the valley is narrowly 
constructed, being but thirteen hundred yards in width, 
the cliffs overhanging the river on either side, but at 
Thebes it broadens out to nine or ten miles, and farther 
up, in the Keneh district, the valley is twelve or fif- 
teen miles in width. The river here approaches within 



sixty miles of the Red Sea, and it is believed that a 
branch of the Nile once flowed out into the sea in this 

Seventy miles below Keneh the Nile throws from its 
left bank the Bahr Yusef branch, a small current of 
350 feet in breadth, which flows for hundreds of miles 
through the broader strip of alluvial land between the 


main stream and the Libyan escarpments. In the Beni- 
Suef district this stream again bifurcates, the chief 
branch continuing to wind along the Nile Valley to a 
point above the Delta, where it joins the main stream. 
The left branch penetrates westward through a gap 
in the Libyan escarpments into the Fayum depression, 
ramifying into a thousand irrigating rills, and pouring 
its overflow into the Birket-el-Qarum, or " Lake of 



Horns/' which still floods the lowest cavity and is a rem- 
nant of the famous ancient Lake Mceris. The Fayum, 
which is the territory reclaimed from the former lake, 
is now an exceedingly productive district, a sort of inland 
delta, fed like the marine delta by the fertilising flood- 
waters of the Nile. 

The traveller Junker wrote of this district in 1875: 
" I found myself surrounded by a garden tract of un- 
surpassed fertility, where there was scarcely room for a 
path amid the exuberant growths ; where pedestrians, rid- 
ers, and animals had to move about along the embank- 
ments of countless canals. Now a land of roses, of the 
vine, olive, sugar-cane, and cotton, where the orange and 
lemon plants attain the size of our apple-trees, it was in 
primeval times an arid depression of the stony and sandy 
Libyan waste." 1 

North of the Fayum the Nile flows on to Cairo, where 
the narrow water way allowed to its course by the two 
lines of cliffs widens, and the cliffs recede to the right 
and left. There is thus sp^ce for the waters to spread 
and ramify over the alluvial plain. Nearly all this por- 
tion of Egypt has been covered by the sediment of the 
Nile, and from the earliest times there have been numer- 
ous distinct branches or channels of the river running 
out by separate openings into the sea. As several of 
these branches have been tapped to a great extent for 
irrigation, all except two have ceased to be true outlets 
of the Nile. In the Greek period there were seven mouths 
and several ^evhoaro^ara , or " false mouths." The two 

iDr. Wilhelm Junker's "Travels in Africa.'* 


remaining mouths are those of Rosetta and Damietta, 
and these were always the most important of the number. 
They branched off formerly close to the present spot 
where Cairo stands, a little below Memphis; but during 
two thousand years the fork has gradually shifted to 
about thirteen miles lower down. 

The triangular space enclosed by these two branches 
and the sea-coast was called by the Greeks the delta, on 
account of the likeness in shape to the Greek letter of 
that name A. At the head, or apex, of the triangle 
stands the famous barrage, or dam, begun in 1847 by 
Mehemet Ali, for the twofold purpose of reclaiming 
many thousand acres of waste land, and of regulating 
the discharge and the navigation through the Delta. The 
idea was originated by a Frenchman in his service named 
Linant Bey. This engineer desired to alter the course 
of the river and build a weir at a point farther to the 
north, where the contour of land seemed to favour the 
design more than that of the present locality. Mehemet 
Ali thought his plans too costly, and accepted in prefer- 
ence those of Mougel Bey. Unexpected difficulties were 
encountered from the very beginning. Mehemet was 
exceedingly anxious to hurry the work, and Mougel Bey 
had only made a beginning, when an exceptionally high 
Nile carried away all the lime in the concrete base. Me- 
hemet Ali did not live to see the completion of this work. 
The object, could it have been realised, was to hold up 

the waters of the Nile during the eight months of the 
ebb, and thus keep them on a level with the soil, and at 
the same time to supply Lower Egypt with an amount of 


water equal to that which came down during flood-time. 
It was hoped to cover the very large expenditure by the 
additional land which it was expected would come under 
irrigation, and by doing away with the primitive sha- 
doofs and setting free for productive enterprise the nu- 
merous army of the agricultural labourers who spent the 
greater part of their time in slowly raising up buckets 
of water from the Nile and pouring them into the irri- 
gating channels. 

The barrage is a double bridge, or weir, the eastern 
part spanning the Damietta branch of the Nile, the 
western part the Rosetta branch. The appearance of 
the structure is so light and graceful that the spectator 
finds it hard to conceive of the difficulty and the great- 
ness of the work itself. Architecturally, the barrage is 
very beautiful, with a noble front and a grand effect, 
produced by a line of castellated turrets, which mark 
the site of the sluice gates. There are two lofty crenel- 
lated towers, corresponding with the towers over the 
gateway of a mediaeval baronial castle. The sluices 
are formed of double cones of hollow iron, in a semicir- 
cular form, worked on a radii of rods fixed to a central 
axis at each side of the sluice-gate. They are slowly 
raised or let down by the labour of two men, the gates 
being inflected as they descend in the direction of the 
bed of that part of the river whose waters are retained. 
The working of the barrage was never what it was in- 
tended to be. After the year 1867 it ceased to be of any 
practical utility, and was merely an impediment to navi- 
gation. Between the years 1885—90, however, during the 





British occupation, Sir Colon Scott-Moncrieff success- 
fully completed the barrage at a cost of $2,500,000, and 
now the desired depth of eight feet of water on the lower 
part of the Nile can always be maintained. It proved 
to be of the greatest advantage in saving labour worth 
hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, and in the irri- 
gation and navigation facilities that had been contem- 
plated as among the benefits which would naturally 
accrue from its successful completion. 


Compared with the advance of the land seaward at 
the estuary of the Mississippi and the Ganges, the ad- 
vance of the Nile seaward is very slow. This is ac- 
counted for by the geological theory that the Delta of 
the Nile is gradually sinking. If this is so, the tendency 
of the periodical deposit to raise the level of the Delta 
will be counteracted by the annual subsidence. These 
phenomena account for the gradual burial of Egyptian 
monuments under the sand, although the actual level 


of the sea above what it formerly was is quite unap- 

The periodical rise in the Nile, recurring as regularly 
as the revolutions of the heavenly bodies, necessarily 
remained an unsolved mystery to the ancients, for until 
the discovery of the tropical regions, with their moun- 
tainous lakes and deluging rains, it was impossible to 
learn the occasion of this increase. It is now known that 
the Blue Nile, flowing out of the mountainous parts of 
Abyssinia, is the sole cause of the periodic overflow of 
the Nile. Without the tropical rains of the Ethiopian 
tablelands, there would be no great rise nor any fertilis- 
ing deposits. Without the White Nile, which runs 
steadily from the perennial reservoirs of the great Cen- 
tral African lakes, the Lower Nile would assume the 
character of an intermittent wady, such as the neigh- 
bouring Khor Baraka, periodically flushed by the dis- 
charge of the torrential downpours from Abyssinia. 
Though there is a periodical increase in the flow of the 
upper waters of the White Nile, yet the effect of this, 
lower down, is minimised by the dense quantities of 
vegetable drift, which, combining with the forest of 
aquatic growth, forms those vast barriers, known by the 
name of sudd, which not only arrest navigation but are 
able to dam up large bodies of water. 

The sudd, it is supposed, stopped the advance of the 
Roman centurions who were sent up the Nile in the 
days of Nero. Sir Samuel Baker was the one who first 
pointed out the great disadvantage of allowing the vege- 
table matter to accumulate, both to merchants and to 


those who were employed to suppress the slave-trade. 
In the year 1863 the two branches of the White Nile 
were blocked above their junction at Lake No. Once 
blocked, the accumulation rapidly increased from the 
stoppage of outlet, forming the innumerable floating 
islands which at this part of the Nile customarily float 
down-stream. A marsh of vast extent had been formed, 
and to all appearance, as Baker narrates, the White Nile 
had disappeared. Baker cut through fifty miles of the 
sudd, and urged the khedive to reopen the Nile. The 
work was successfully undertaken by Ishmail Ayub 
Pasha, and the White Nile became clear for large vessels 
when Gordon reached Khartum in 1874. It is practically 
impossible to keep the central provinces of the Nile open 
to civilisation unless the course of the Nile is free. Yet 
in 1878 the obstruction had been renewed, and during 
the occupation of these provinces by the rebel dervishes 
under the Mahdi and the califa the Nile was completely 
blocked, as formerly, at Lake No. The alarming failure 
of the Nile flood in 1899—1900 was generally attributed 
to this blockade, and in 1899 fifty thousand dollars was 
placed at the disposal of the governor-general for re- 
opening the White Nile by removing the vast accumu- 
lation of sudd which blocked the Bahr-el- Jebel from Lake 
No almost as far as Shambeh. The work was started 
under the direction of Sir William Garstin in 1899. In 
1900 the greater part of the sudd had been removed by 
the strenuous labours of Major Peake, and the Nile again 
became navigable from Khartum to Rejaf. The sudd 
was found to be piled up and of almost as close a struc- 


ture as peat. It was sawn out in blocks ten feet square 
and carried away by gunboats. In the years 1901—02 
further progress was made, and twenty thousand dollars 
appropriated for the work; and by means of constant 
patrolling the sudd is now practically absent from the 
whole course of the White Nile. 

The discharge of the flood waters from the Upper 
Nile begins to make itself felt in Lower Nubia and Egypt 
in the month of June, at first slightly, and after the 
middle of July much more rapidly, the river continuing 
to rise steadily till the first week in October, when it 
reaches high-water mark, nearly fifty-four or fifty-five 
feet at the Egyptian frontier, and twenty-five or twenty- 
six feet at Cairo. A subsidence then sets in, and con- 
tinues till low- water level is again reached, usually about 
the end of May. The floods are then much higher and 
confined to a narrower space in the Nubian section of 
the Nile, while they gradually die out in the region of 
the Delta, where the excess seawards is discharged by the 
Rosetta and Damietta branches. In place of the old 
Nilometers, the amount of the rise of the Nile is now 
reported by telegraph from meteorological stations. 

It is popularly supposed that at every rise the plains 
of the Delta are inundated, but this is not the case. The 
actual overflow of the banks of the river and canals is 
the exception, and when it happens is most disastrous. 
The irrigation of fields and plantations is effected by 
slow infiltration through the retaining dykes, which are 
prevented from bursting by the process of slow absorp- 
tion. The first lands to be affected are not those which 





are nearest to the dyke, but those which are of the lowest 
level, because the waters, in percolating through under 
the ground, reach the surface of these parts first. In 
Manitoba during a dry season sometimes the roots of 
the wheat strike down deep enough to reach the reser- 
voir of moisture under ground. In Egypt this under- 
ground moisture is what is counted upon, but it is 
fed by a special and prepared system, and is thus 
brought to the roots of the plants artificially. An 
analysis of the Nile alluvium, which has 
accumulated in the course of ages to a 
thickness of from three to four feet above 
the old river-bed, shows that it contains a 
Considerable percentage of such fertilising 
Substances as carbonate of lime and mag- 
nesia, silicates of aluminum, carbon, and 
several oxides. Where the water has to 
be raised to higher levels, two processes 
are used. The primitive shadoof of native 
origin figured on a monument as far back 
as 3,300 years ago, and the more modern 
sakieh was apparently introduced in later 
times from Syria and Persia. The shadoof 
is used on small farms, and the sakieh is 
more often used for larger farms and 
plantations. These contrivances line the whole course 
of the Nile from Lower Egypt to above Khartum. The 
shadoof will raise six hundred gallons ten feet in an 
hour, and consists of a pole weighted at one end, with a 
bucket at the other; when the water is raised the weight 


jfe^h^ l 




counterbalances the weight of the full bucket. The 
sakieh, which will raise twelve hundred gallons twenty 
or twenty-four feet in an hour, is a modified form of a 
Persian wheel, made to revolve by a beast of burden; it 
draws an endless series of buckets up from the water, 
and automatically empties them into a trough or other 
receptacle. In former times these appliances w^ere 
heavity taxed and made the instruments of oppression, 
but these abuses have been reformed since Egypt came 
under a more humane form of government. 

Another interesting feature of the water ways of 
Egypt is the intermittent watercourses. The largest of 
these is the Khor Baraka (Barka), which flows out 
towards Tapan, south of Suakin. It presents some anal- 
ogy to the Nile, and in part was undoubtedly a perennial 
stream 250 miles long, and draining seven or eight thou- 
sand square miles. At present its flat sandy bed, winding 
between well-wooded banks, is dry for a great part of 
the year. This route is extensively used for the caravan 
trade between Suakin and Kassala. During September 
the water begins to flow, but is spasmodic. After the 
first flood the natives plant their crops, but sometimes 
the second flow, being too great, cannot be confined to 
the limits prepared for it, and the crops are carried away 
and the sowing must of necessity be started again. 

The canals of Egypt are of great aid in extending 
the beneficial influence of the inundations of the Nile. 
In Lower Egypt is the Mahmudiyeh Canal, connecting 
Alexandria with the Rosetta branch, and following the 
same direction as an ancient canal which preceded it. 



Mehemet Ali constructed this canal, which is about 
fifty miles long and one hundred feet broad. It is be- 
lieved that twelve thousand labourers perished during 
its construction. Between the Rosetta and the Damietta 
branches of the Nile there are other canals, such as the 
Manuf, which connects the two branches of the river 
at a point not far from the Delta. East of the Damietta 
branch are other canals, occupying the ancient river-beds 
of the Tanitic and Pelusiac branches of the Nile. One 
of these is called the canal of the El-Muiz, from the first 
Fatimite caliph who ruled in Egypt, and who ordered it 
to be constructed. Another is named the canal of Abul- 
Munegga, from the name of the Jew who executed this 
work under the caliph El- 'Amir, in order to bring water 
into the province of Sharkiyah. This last canal is con- 
nected with the remains of the one which in ancient times 
joined the Nile with the Red Sea. After falling into 
neglect it has again in part been restored and much in- 
creased in length as the Sweet Water Canal. 

Further mention may also be made of the great canal 
called the Bahr-Yusef, or River Joseph, which is im- 
portant enough to be classed as a ramification of the 
Nile itself. As has been mentioned, this water way runs 
parallel with the Nile on the west side below Cairo for 
about 350 miles to Farshut, and is the most important 
irrigation canal in Egypt. It is a series of canals rather 
than one canal. Tradition states that this canal was re- 
paired by the celebrated Saladin. Another tradition, 
relating that the canal existed in the time of the 
Pharaohs, has recently been proved to be correct. 


Egypt possesses not only the greatest natural water 
way in the world, but also the greatest artificial water 
way— the Suez Canal. Before the opening of this canal 
there were in the past other canals which afforded com- 
munication between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. 
These ancient canals differed in one respect from the 
Suez Canal, since they were all fed by the fresh waters 
of the Nile. One of these still remains in use, and is 
called the Fresh Water Canal. According to Aristotle, 
Strabo, and Pliny, Sesostris was the first to conceive and 
carry out the idea of a water connection between the 
two seas, by means of the Pelusiac branch of the Nile 
from Avaris to Bubastis, and by rendering navigable the 
irrigation canal which already existed between Bubastis 
and Heroopolis. It is believed by some that the frag- 
ment bearing the oval of Ramses II. found near the course 
of the present canal affords confirmation of this assertion. 

The first authentic account of the carrying out of the 
conception of an inter-sea water way is to be found in 
the time of Pharaoh Nechp II., about the year 610 b. c. 
Herodotus records of Necho that he was " the first to 
attempt the construction of the canal to the Red Sea." 
This canal tapped the Nile at Bubastis, near Zagazig, and 
followed closely the line of modern Wady Canal to 
Heroopolis, the site of which lies in the neighbourhood 
of Toussun and Serapeum, between the Bitter Lakes 
and Lake Tinseh. At that date the Red Sea reached 
much farther inland than it does now, and was called in 
the upper portion the Heroopolite Gulf. The expanse of 
brackish water, now known as the Bitter Lakes, was 



then, in all probability, directly connected with the Red 
Sea. The length of this canal, according to Pliny, was 
sixty-two miles, or about fifty-seven English miles. This 
length, allowing for the sinuosity of the valley traversed, 
agrees with the distance between the site of old Bubastis 
and the present head of the Bitter Lakes. The length 
given by Herodotus of more than one thousand stadia 
(114 miles) must be understood to include the whole 
distance between the two seas, both by the Nile and 


by the canal. Herodotus relates that it cost the lives 
of 120,000 men to cut the canal. He says that the under- 
taking was abandoned because of a warning from an 
oracle that the barbarians alone, meaning the Persians, 
would benefit by the success of the enterprise. The true 
reason for relinquishing the plan probably was that the 
Egyptians believed the Red Sea to have been higher in 
altitude than the Nile. They feared that if the canal 
were opened between the Nile and the Red Sea the salt 
water would flow in and make the waters of the Nile 


brackish. This explanation would indicate a lack of 
knowledge of locks and sluices on the part of the 

The work of Necho was continued by Darius, the son 
of Hystaspes (520 b. c). The natural channel of com- 
munication between the Heroopolite Gulf and the Red 
Sea had begun to fill up with silt even in the time of 
Necho, and a hundred years later, in the time of Darius, 
was completely blocked, so that it had to be entirely 
cleaned out to render it navigable. The traces of this 
canal can still be plainly seen in the neighbourhood of 
Shaluf, near the south end of the Bitter Lakes. The 
present fresh-water canal was also made to follow its 
course for some distance between that point and Suez. 
Persian monuments have been found by Lepsius in the 
neighbourhood, commemorating the work of Darius. On 
one of these the name of Darius is written in the Per- 
sian cuneiform characters, and on a cartouche in the 
Egyptian form. Until this date it therefore appears 
that ships sailed up the Pelusiac branch of the Mle to 
Bubastis, and thence along the canal to Heroopolis, where 
the cargoes were transhipped to the Red Sea. This in- 
convenient transfer of cargoes was remedied by the next 
Egyptian sovereign, who bestowed much care on the 
water connection between the two seas. 

Ptolemy Philadelphus (285 b. a), in addition to clean- 
ing out and thoroughly restoring the two canals, joined 
the fresh-water canal with the Heroopolite Gulf by means 
of a lock and sluices, which permitted the passage of 
vessels, and were effective in preventing the salt water 


from mingling with the fresh water. At the point where 
the canal joined the Heroopolite Gulf to the Red Sea, 
Ptolemy founded the town of Arsinoe, a little to the 
north of the modern Suez. 

The line of communication between the two seas was 
impassable during the reign of Cleopatra (31 b. a). It 
is believed by some that it was restored during the reign 
of the Roman emperor Trajan (98—117). During this 
period the Pelusiac branch of the Nile was very low, 
the water having almost completely deserted this for- 
merly well-filled course. If Trajan, therefore, undertook 
to reopen the water way, he must have tapped the Nile 
much higher up, in order to reach a plentiful supply of 
water. The old canal near Cairo, which elsewhere joined 
the line of the former canal on the way to the Bitter 
Lakes, was once called " Amnis Trajanus," and from this 
it has been inferred that Trajan was really the builder, 
and that during his reign this canal was cleaned and 
rendered navigable. As there is no further evidence than 
the name to prove that Trajan undertook so important 
an enterprise, the " Amnis Trajanus " was probably con- 
structed during the Arabic period. 

When Amr had conquered Egypt, according to an- 
other account, the caliph Omar ordered him to ship rich 
supplies of grain to Mecca and Medina, because during 
the pilgrimages these cities and often the whole of 
Hedjaz suffered severely from famine. As it was ex- 
tremely difficult to send large quantities of provisions 
across the desert on the backs of camels, it is supposed 
that to facilitate this transportation Omar ordered the 


construction of the canal from a point near Cairo to the 
head of the Bed Sea. On account of his forethought in 
thus providing for the pilgrims to the Hedjaz, Omar 
received the title of " Prince of the Faithful " (Emir el- 
Momeneen), which thenceforth was adopted by his suc- 
cessors in the caliphate. One hundred and thirty-four 
years after this time, El-Mansur, the second caliph of 
the Abbasid dynasty, is said to have closed the canal to 
prevent supplies from being shipped to one of the de- 
scendants of Ali who had revolted at Medina. Since that 
time it is probable that it has never been reopened, al- 
though there is a report that the Sultan Hakim rendered 
it available for the passage of boats in the year a. d. 1000, 
after which it was neglected and became choked with 
sand. While not thereafter used for navigation, there 
were parts which during the time of the annual inun- 
dation of the Nile were filled with water, until Mehemet 
Ali prevented this. The parts filled during the inunda- 
tion extended as far as Sheykh Hanaydik, near Toussun 
and the Bitter Lakes. r 

The old canal which left the Nile at Cairo had long 
ceased to flow beyond the outskirts of the city, and the 
still more ancient canal from the neighbourhood of Bu- 
bastis, now known as the Wady Canal, extended only a 
few miles in the direction of the isthmus as far as Kas- 
sassin. During the construction of the Suez Canal the 
need of supplying the labourers with fresh water was 
imperative. The company, therefore, determined in 1861 
to prolong the canal from Kassassin to the centre of the 
isthmus, and in the year 1863 they brought the fresh- 







i— i 















1839. The Peninsular and Oriental Company established 
a service of steamers between England and Alexandria, 
and between Suez and India. In spite of this endeavour 
nothing was actually accomplished with regard to a canal 
until 1846, when a mixed commission was appointed to 
enquire into the subject. This commission entirely ex- 
ploded the error into which Lepere had fallen in report- 
ing a difference of level between the two seas. 

A plan was projected in 1855 by M. Linant Bey and 
M. Mougel Bey, under the superintendence of M. de Les- 
seps, who had already received a firman of concession 
from Said Pasha. This plan recommended a direct canal 
between Suez and Pelusium, which should pass through 
the Bitter Lakes, Lake Tinseh, Ballah, and Menzaleh, 
and connecting with the sea at each end by means of a 
lock. A fresh-water canal from Bulak to the centre of 
the isthmus and thence through Suez, with a conduit for 
conveying water to Pelusium, was also proposed. This 
project was in 1856 submitted to an international com- 
mission company composed of representatives from Eng- 
land, Prance, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Prussia, 
and Spain, and the following modification was suggested: 
that the line of the canal to the north should be slightly 
altered and brought to a point seventeen and a half miles 
west of Pelusium, this change being determined upon 
from the fact that the water at this point was from 
twenty-five to thirty feet deep at a distance of two miles 
from the coast, whereas at Pelusium this depth of water 
was only to be found at a distance of five miles from the 
coast. It was suggested that the plan for locks be abol- 



ished, and the length of the jetties at Suez and Port Said 
be diminished. Various other details of a minor char- 
acter were determined, and this project was finally ac- 
cepted and carried through by the Suez Canal Company. 
In 1854 M. Ferdinand de Lesseps, whose father was 
the first representative of France in Egypt after the 


occupation, and who was chosen consul at Cairo (1831— 
1838), obtained a preliminary concession from Said 
Pasha, authorising him to form a company for the pur- 
pose of excavating a canal between the two seas, and 
laying down the connections on which the concession was 
granted. This was followed by the drawing up and re- 
vision of the project mentioned above, and by the renewal 
in 1856 of the first concession with certain modifications 



and additions. Meanwhile the British government, under 
the influence of Lord Palmerston, then foreign secretary, 
endeavoured for various political reasons to place obsta- 
cles in the way of the enterprise, and so far succeeded 
in this unworthy attempt as to prevent the sultan from 
giving his assent to the concessions made by the viceroy 
of Egypt. Nothing, however, could daunt the intrepid 
promoter, M. de Lesseps. He declared his motto to 
be " Pour principe de commencer par avoir de la con- 
fiance." Undeterred by intrigues, and finding that his 
project met with a favourable reception throughout the 
Continent of Europe, he determined, in 1858, to open a 
subscription which would secure funds for the under- 
taking. The capital, according to the statistics of the 
company, approved in the firman of the concession, was 
to consist of forty million dollars in shares of one hundred 
dollars each. More than half of this amount was sub- 
scribed for, and eventually, in 1860, Said Pasha consented 
to take up the remaining unallotted shares, amounting to 
more than twelve million dollars. Disregarding the op- 


position of the English government, and ignoring the 
Sublime Porte, which was influenced by England, M. 
de Lesseps began his work in 1859, and on the 25th of 
April of that year the work was formally commenced, 
in the presence of M. de Lesseps and four directors of 
the company, by the digging of a small trench along the 
projected line of the canal, on the narrow strip of land 
between Lake Menzaleh and the Mediterranean. This 
was followed by the establishment of working encamp- 
ments in different parts of the isthmus. 


Although the first steps were thus taken, incredible 
difficulties prevented de Lesseps from pushing forward 
with his work. Towards the close of 1862 the actual re- 
sults w r ere only a narrow " rigole " cut from the Med- 
iterranean to Lake Tinseh, and the extension of the fresh- 
water canal from Rasel-Wady to the same point. The 
principal work done in 1863 was the continuation of the 
fresh- water canal to Suez. At this point a fresh obstacle 
arose which threatened to stop the work altogether. 
Among the articles of the concession of 1856 was one 
providing that four-fifths of the workmen on the canal 
should be Egyptians. Said Pasha consented to furnish 
these workmen by conscription from different parts of 
Egypt, and the company agreed to pay them at a rate 
equal to about two-thirds less than was given for similar 
work in Europe, and one-third more than they received 
in their own country, and to provide them with food, 
dwellings, etc. In principle this was the corvee, or forced 
labour. The fellaheen were taken away from their homes 
and set to work at the canal, though there is no doubt 
that they were as well treated and better paid than at 
home. The injustice and impolicy of this clause had al- 
ways been insisted upon to the sultan by the English 
government, and when Ismail Pasha became viceroy, in 
the year 1863, he saw that the constant drain upon the 
working population required to keep twenty thousand 
fresh labourers monthly for the canal was a loss to the 
country for which nothing could compensate. In the 
early part of 1864 he refused to continue to send the 
monthly contingent, and the work was almost stopped. 


By the consent of all the parties, the subjects in 
dispute were submitted to the arbitrage of the French 
Emperor Napoleon III., who decided that the two conces- 
sions of 1854 and 1856, being in the nature of a contract 
and binding on both parties, the Egyptian government 
should pay an indemnity equal to the fellah labour and 
$6,000,000 for the resumption of the lands originally 
granted, two hundred metres only being retained on each 
side of the canal for the erection of workshops, the de- 
posit of soil, etc., and $3,200,000 for the fresh-water canal, 
and the right of levying tolls on it. The Egyptian gov- 
ernment undertook to keep it in repair and navigable, 
and to allow the company free use of it for any purpose. 
The sum total of these payments amounted to $16,800,000, 
and was to be paid in sixteen instalments from 1864 to 

The company now proceeded to replace by machinery 
the manual labour, and, thanks to the energy and inge- 
nuity of the principal contractors, Messrs. Borel and 
Lavalley, that which seemed first of all to threaten de- 
struction to the enterprise now led to its ultimate success. 
Without the machinery thus called into action, it is 
probable that the canal would never have been completed 
when it was. The ingenuity displayed in the invention 
of this machinery, and its application to this vast under- 
taking, constituted one of the chief glories in the enter- 
prise of M. de Lesseps. 

The work now proceeded without interruption of any 
kind; but at the end of the year 1867 it became evident 
that more money would be needed, and a subscription was 



opened for the purpose of obtaining $20,000,000 by means 
of one hundred dollar shares, issued at $600 a share, and 
bearing interest at the rate of five dollars a share. When 
more money was needed in 1869, the government agreed 
to renounce the interest on the shares held by it for 
twenty-five years, and more bonds were issued. 

By help of these subventions and loans the work was 
pushed onward with great vigour. The sceptical were 


gradually losing their scepticism, and all the world was 
awakening to see what an immense advantage to civilisa- 
tion the triumph of de Lesseps' engineering enterprise 
would be. The great Frenchman had shown consummate 
skill as an organiser, but still more perhaps as an astute 
diplomatist, who knew how to upset the machinations 
of his numerous and powerful opponents by judicious 
counter-strokes of policy. By the beginning of 1869, the 
great labours of the company had very nearly reached 
their completion. The waters, flowing from the Med- 
iterranean, first entered into the Bitter Lakes on March 


18, 1869. Ismail Pasha was present to watch the initial 
success of the grand undertaking, and predicted that in 
a very short space of time the canal would be open to 
the ships of all the world. The first steamer which made 
the passage was one which carried M. de Lesseps on 
board, and which steamed the whole length of the canal 
September, 1869, in an interval of fifteen hours. This 
was a great triumph for the intrepid and persevering 
engineer, whose enterprise had been scoffed at by many 
men of the greatest European fame, and the completion 
of which had been delayed by incredible obstacles aris- 
ing from jealousy or want of funds. By this time the 
unworthy tactics of the former Palmerston ministry of 
Great Britain in opposition to a scheme of such universal 
helpfulness to commerce had been succeeded by an official 
interest in the success of the enterprise which grew from 
sentiment, in the first instance, to a willingness later to 
buy up all the shares held by the Egyptian government. 
M. de Lesseps gave formal notice early in September 
that the canal would be* opened for navigation on No- 
vember 17, 1869. The khedive made costly preparations 
in order that the event might become an international 
celebration. Invitations were sent to all the sovereigns 
of Europe. The sultan refused to be present, but the 
Empress Eugenie accepted the invitation in the name 
of the French people. The Austrian emperor, the Prus- 
sian crown prince, and Prince Amadeus of Italy also took 
part in the festivity. The initial ceremony was on 
November 15th, at Port Said. Emperor Francis Joseph 
landed at midday, and was received with pomp and mag- 


nificence by the Khedive Ismail. There were splendid 
decorations in the streets and triumphal arches were 
raised. Meanwhile salutes were exchanged between the 
batteries and the ships of war in the harbour. At night 
there were gorgeous illuminations and fireworks. The 
khedive gave a grand ball on his own yacht, at which the 
Emperor of Austria and all the distinguished guests were 
in attendance. The French empress then arrived in 
Alexandria, and was received by Ismail and Francis 
Joseph with salutes of guns and the acclamations of the 
people. The next day the French imperial yacht Aigle, 
with the empress on board, proceeded to steam up the 
canal, being followed by forty vessels. They reached 
Ismailia after eight hours and a half, and were there met 
by vessels coming from the south end at Suez. On 
November 19th the fleet of steamers, led by the French 
imperial yacht, set out for Suez. They anchored over- 
night at the Bitter Lakes, and on November 21st the 
whole fleet of forty-five steamers arrived at Suez and 
entered the Red Sea. The empress, accompanied by the 
visiting fleet, returned on November 22nd, and reached 
the Mediterranean on the 23rd. 

England, the country which more than any other had 
opposed the progress of the canal, derived more benefit 
than any other country from its completion. In 1875 
the British government bought 176,600 shares from the 
khedive for a sum of nearly $20,000,000; and at the pres- 
ent time the value of these shares has risen more than 
fourfold. By this acquisition the British government 
became the largest shareholder. Of the shipping which 


avails itself of this route to the East, which is shorter 
by six thousand miles than any other, about eighty per 
cent, is British. In 1891, of 4,207 ships, with a grain 
tonnage of 12,218,000, as many as 3,217 of 9,484,000 tons 
Avere British. 

Extensive works were undertaken in 1894 for the 
widening of the canal. Illuminated buoys and electric 
lights have been introduced to facilitate the night traffic, 
so that, proceeding continuously, instead of stopping 
overnight, ships can now pass through in less than 
twenty hours in place of the thirty-five or forty hours 
which were formerly taken to effect the passage. These 
greater facilities postponed the need of discussing the 
project for running a parallel canal to the East which 
some time ago was thought to be an impending necessity 
on account of the blockage of the canal by the number of 
vessels passing through its course. 

By the Anglo-French Convention of 1888, the canal 
had acquired an international character. Both the water 
way itself and the isthmus for three miles on either side 
were declared neutral territory, exempt from blockade, 
fortification, or military occupation of any kind. The 
passage is to remain open for all time to ships of all 
nations, whether they are war-ships or merchantmen or 
liners, or whether the country to which they belong is 
engaged in war or enjoying peace. Within this conven- 
tion was included the fresh-water canal which supplies 
drinking water to Ismailia and Port Said, and all the 
floating population about the banks of the Suez Canal. 
On April 8, 1904, by the terms of a new Anglo-French 


Colonial Treaty, it has been jointly agreed that the 
provisions of the Convention of 1888 shall remain in 
force for the next thirty years. 

Egypt was the scene of the earliest of all advances 
in engineering science. The system of irrigation, which 
originated in the days of the oldest Egyptian dynasties, 
has remained practically the same through all the inter- 
vening centuries until very recent times. During every 
period of vigorous government the rulers of Egypt paid 
special attention to irrigation canals and sluices, through 
which the flood waters could be brought to some hitherto 
uncultivated area. The famous barrage, projected early 
in the nineteenth century and only rendered efficient for 
what it was intended since the British occupation, made 
very little alteration in the actual supply of water during 
the seasons of low water in the Nile. The most serious 
problem is how to ward off the periodical famine years, 
of which there has been record from the earliest ages, 
and of which the Book of Genesis has left an account in 
the history of Joseph and the seven years of plenty and 
seven years of famine. Without creating such a vast 
reservoir in the upper waters of the Nile, that the storage 
there retained can be available in years of low water to 
fill the river to its accustomed level, it is impossible to 
prevent the calamity occasioned by leaving many dis- 
tricts of Egypt without cultivation for one or more 
seasons. With the desire of accomplishing this, Sir Ben- 
jamin Baker, the leading authority on engineering works 
in Egypt, prepared a scheme for reserving a vast storage 
of water in Upper Egypt at Aswan. It was also decided 


to follow up the enterprise with another to be under- 
taken at Assiut. 

On February 20, 1898, the khedive approved of a con- 
tract with Messrs. John Aird and Company, which set- 
tled the much-debated question of the Nile reservoir and 
the scheme for the great dam at Aswan. The govern- 
ment was able to start the undertaking without any pre- 
liminary outlay. It was agreed that the company should 
receive the sum of $800,000 a year for a period of thirty 
years. Aswan, six hundred miles south of Cairo, was 
selected as an advantageous site because the Nile at that 
place flows over a granite bed, and is shut in on either 
side by granite rocks, which, when the course of the river 
is barred, would form the shores of the artificial irriga- 
tion lake. 

Before this work started, there had been a long con- 
troversy as to the effect produced by the rising waters 
upon the renowned temple on the Isle of Philae. Lord 
Leighton, the president of the Royal Academy, had vig- 
orously protested against allowing the destruction of 
this famous ancient ruin. In the modification of the 
plans caused by this protest, it was hoped that no seri- 
ous harm would result to this well-preserved relic of 
ancient Egyptian religion and art. 

The enterprise was put through with great rapidity, 
the project fully realising the designs of its inaugurators. 
By aid of this great structure, 2,500 square miles have 
been added to the area of the 10,500 miles hitherto subject 
to cultivation. Its value to the country is at the least 
worth $100,000,000. The dam extends for one and a quar- 



ter miles, and possesses 180 openings, each of which is 
twenty-three feet high, and will altogether allow the 
outpour of fifteen thousand tons of water per second. 
Navigation up and down the Nile has not been impeded, 
since, by a chain of four locks, vessels are able to pass 
up and down the river. Each lock is 260 feet long and 
thirty-two feet wide. During flood-time the gates of the 


dam are open; while the flood is subsiding the gates 
are gradually closed, and thus, in a long season of low 
water, the reservoir is gradually filled up for use through 
a system of canals, whereby the waters can be drawn off 
for irrigation and the main flow of the Nile can be in- 
creased. The lake thus formed is nearly three times the 
superficial area of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, and the 
waters are held back for a distance of 140 miles up the 
course of the river. The reservoir is filled during the 


months of January and February, and from April to the 
end of August the water is let out for irrigation purposes 
from the bottom of the reservoir, thus enabling the sedi- 
ment, which is of such value, to be carried out through 
the sluices. Four or five waterings are allowed to per- 
colate from it to the various regions which are thus 
brought under cultivation, and besides this the main 
supply of the river itself is artificially increased at the 
same time. 

The dam has been constructed of granite ashlar taken 
from quarries near Aswan. These quarries are the very 
same from which the ancient obelisks were hewn. The 
amount of rock used was about one million tons in weight. 
In building the dam it was found to be very difficult to 
lay the foundation, since the bottom of the river proved 
to be unsound, although in the preliminary reports it 
had been declared to be of solid granite. In some in- 
stances it was found necessary to dig down for forty 
feet, in order to lay a perfectly secure foundation on 
which the heavy wall could be superimposed. This re- 
quired much additional labour, and great risk and dam- 
age was encountered during the progress of the work 
at the date of the impending rise of the waters of the 
Nile. Rubble dams were raised to ward off the waters 
from the point where it was necessary to excavate. The 
holes were gradually filled with solid blocks of granite; 
then the base of the structure, one hundred feet in width, 
was laid, and the massive piers, capable of resisting the 
immense pressure of the water during the height of the 
floods, were raised, and the whole edifice was at length 


completed with great rapidity by the aid of many thou- 
sand workmen, just before the rise in the Nile occurred. 
The official opening of the dam took place on the 10th 
of December, 1902. 

The dam at Aswan is the greatest irrigation project 
ever yet undertaken, but is by no means the last one 
likely to be executed in relation to the waters of the Nile. 
A smaller dam is to be constructed at Assiut, in order 
to supply a system of irrigation in the neighbourhood 
of that city, and also to carry water across to thousands 
of acres between this region and Cairo. This project is 
planned somewhat after the design of the barrage which 
is below Cairo. 

It is impossible to forecast what engineering skill 
may have in store for the future of Egypt. One may 
hope, at least, that the most prosperous days of the 
Pharaohs, the Ptolemies, and the Romans will be repro- 
duced once more for the modern Egyptians, as an out- 
come of the wise administration which has originated 
through the occupation of the country by the English, as 
an international trust held for civilisation. By aid of 
British initiative, Egypt now controls a vast empire in 
equatorial Africa and the Sudan, and the great water 
ways of this immense territory are being gradually 
brought under such control that the maximum advan- 
tage to all the population will be the necessary result. 
The whole Nile is now opened to commerce. The British 
have guaranteed equal rights, and what has been called 
the policy of the " open door," for the commerce of 
all nations. 


The history of the modern exploration of the Nile 
is closely associated with the history of Egypt in mod- 
ern times. The men who first visited Egypt and ascended 
the Nile valley were in almost every case Indo-Euro- 
peans. The early Egyptians were familiar perhaps with 
the Nile as far as Khartum, and with the Blue Nile up 
to its source in Lake Tsana, but they showed little or 
no interest in exploring the White Nile. In 457 b. c, 
Herodotus entered Egypt, and ascended the Nile as far 
as the First Cataract. He then learned many things 
about its upper waters, and made enquiries about the 
territories which lay beyond. He heard that the source 
was unknown; that there was a centre of civilisation in 
a city of the Ethiopians, in the bend of the Nile at Meroe 
(Merawi of to-day), but about the regions beyond he 
was unable to learn anything. Eratosthenes, the earli- 
est geographer of whom we have record, was born in 
276 b. c. at Cyrene, North Africa. From the information 
he gathered and edited, he sketched a nearly correct 
route of the Nile to Khartum. He also inserted the two 
Abyssinian affluents, and suggested that lakes were the 
source of the river. 

When Rome extended her domains over Egypt, in 
30 b. c, the interest of the Romans was aroused in the 
solution of the problem of the discovery of the source 
of the Nile. Strabo set out with iElius Gallus, the Roman 
Governor of Egypt, on a journey of exploration up the 
Nile as far as Philse, at the First Cataract. About 30 b. c. 
Greek explorers by the names of Bion, Dalion, and Si- 
mondes were engaged in active exploration of the Nile 


above the First Cataract and perhaps south of Khartum, 
according to the account of Pliny the Elder, writing in 
50 a. d. The Emperor Nero, in a. d. 66, sent an expedi- 
tion up the Nile, and its members journeyed as far as 
the modern Fashoda and perhaps even beyond the White 
Nile. Their advance was impeded by the sudd, and, after 
writing discouraging reports, their attempt was aban- 
doned. Among the Greek merchants who traded on the 
East African coast was one named Diogenes, who had 
been informed by an Arab that by a twenty-five days' 
journey one could gain access to a chain of great lakes, 
two of which were the headwaters of the White Nile. 
They also said that there was a mountain range, named 
from its brilliant appearance the Mountains of the Moon. 
He was informed that the Nile formed from the two head 
streams, flowed through marshes until it united with the 
Blue Nile, and then it flowed on until it entered into well- 
known regions. Diogenes reported this to a Syrian geog- 
rapher named Marinus of Tyre, who wrote of it in his 
Geography during the first century of the Christian era. 
The writings of Marinus disappeared, it is supposed, 
when the Alexandrian Library was scattered, but luckily 
Gladius Ptolemy quoted them, and thus they have been 
preserved for us. Ptolemy wrote, in 150 a. d., the first 
clearly intelligible account of the origin of the White 
Nile, the two lakes, Victoria and Albert Nyanza, and the 
Mountains of the Moon. But no less than 1,740 years 
elapsed before justice could be done to this ancient geog- 
rapher, and his account verified. It was Sir Henry M. 
Stanley who discovered the Ruwanzori mountain range, 


corresponding to the classical Mountains of the Moon, 
and who thus justified Ptolemy's view of the topography 
of Africa. For many years after Ptolemy, the work of 
exploring the sources of the Nile was entirely discon- 
tinued, and the solution of the problem was still wrapped 
in impenetrable mystery. 

The first modern explorer of any consequence who 
came from Great Britain was a Scotchman named Bruce. 
In 1763 he travelled through many ports of Northern 
Africa and visited the Levant, and subsequently Syria 
and Palestine. Wherever he went he drew sketches of 
antiquities, which are now preserved in the British Mu- 
seum. Landing in Africa in 1786, he went up the Nile 
as far as Aswan. From there he travelled to the Red 
Sea and reached Jiddah, the port of Hajas. He then 
returned to Africa, stopping at Massawa, and from there 
penetrated into the heart of Abyssinia. The emperor 
received him with favour and suffered him to reach the 
Blue Nile, which to the mind of Bruce had always been 
considered as the main stream of the Nile. Having deter- 
mined the latitude and longitude, he went down the Blue 
Nile as far as the site of Khartum, where the waters of 
the White Nile join with those of the Blue Nile. He next 
proceeded to Berber, and crossed the desert to Korosko, 
returning, after a three years' journey, in the year 1773. 
In journeying through France many learned men took a 
great interest in the story of his explorations, but he was 
bitterly disappointed to hear that he had not been the 
first to reach the sources of the Blue Nile. Partly for 
this reason he delayed publishing his travels for seven- 


teen years after his return. Bruce was a truthful and 
accurate writer, but nevertheless his book was received 
on all sides with incredulity. Although received at the 
British court, he was not given any special honours or 
decorations. He first pointed out the great importance 
to England of controlling the Egyptian route to India, 
and he also secured for English merchants a concession 
on the Red Sea. 

In 1812, John Ludwig Burckhardt, of Swiss nation- 
ality, the first among Europeans, made a pilgrimage to 
Mecca and then travelled up the Nile to Korosko, after 
which he crossed the desert to Berber and Shendy. His 
death occurred after his return to Cairo, and he left a 
valuable collection of Oriental manuscripts to the Uni- 
versity of Cambridge, England, which were published 
after his death. 

In 1827, a Belgian, named Adolphe Lisiant, ascended 
the White Nile to within 150 miles of Khartum. The ex- 
pedition which he led was aided by an English society, 
called the " African Association," which became after- 
wards a part of the Royal Geographical Society. Many 
explorers visited the White Nile between 1827 and 1845. 
In 1845, John Pethrick, a Welshman, explored the Nile 
for coal and precious metals in the interest of Mehemet 
Ali. After the death of this pasha, Pethrick visited El- 
Ob eid in Kordofan as a trader, and remained there for 
five years. In 1853 he ventured upon an enterprise re- 
lating to the ivory trade. For this purpose he travelled 
backwards and forwards upon the White Nile and the 
Bahr-el-Ghazal for a period of six years, reaching some 


of the important affluents of the Bahr-el-Ghazal, the Jur 
and the Jalo, or the Rol. Returning to England, he was 
commissioned to undertake a relief expedition to help 
Captains Speke and Grant, who had set out upon their 
journey of exploration, and in the year 1861 he returned 
to Central Africa. Interest in the slave-trade deterred 
him from following the directions under which he had 
been sent out, namely, to bring relief to Speke and Grant. 
Sir Samuel Baker anticipated him in relieving the ex- 
pedition, and this so angered Speke that he attempted 
to have Pethrick deprived of his consular position. Peth- 
rick died in 1882. 

When Lieutenant Richard Francis Burton had com- 
pleted his famous journey through Hedjaz to the sacred 
city of Mecca, he called at the port of Aden at the south- 
west extremity of Arabia. While there, he made friends 
with the authorities, and persuaded them to allow him 
to penetrate Africa through Somaliland, which is situ- 
ated to the southwest of Abyssinia. He hoped by an 
overland journey westbound to strike the Nile at its head- 
waters. John H. Speke accompanied Burton on his jour- 
ney, and thus gained his first experience of African ex- 
ploration. Unfortunately this expedition was not a 
success, for the Somali were so suspicious of the object 
of the travellers that they forced them to return to the 

Once more, in 1856, the same party started farther 
south from Zanzibar. Hearing of a great inland lake, 
they pressed forwards to make an exploration, but were 
prevented by the Masai tribes. Burton was now laid 

... i^iij'i: 







! ! i 








up with fever, and Speke formed a large party and 
crossed the Unyamivezi and Usukuma. On July 30, 
1858, they were fortunate enough to cross one of the 
bays of the southern half of Lake Victoria Nyanza. They 
struck northwards, and, on August 3rd, gained sight of 
the open waters of the great lake. Speke did not realise 
the vast area of the lake at this time, and put down its 
width at about one hundred miles. As he had promised 
Burton to return at a certain pre-arranged date, he went 
back to the coast. Burton, however, was unreasonable 
enough to be displeased with Speke 's discovery, and the 
two fell into strained relations. On arriving at the coast, 
Speke at once went back to England, and there raised 
funds to make a longer and more complete exploration. 
He was naturally anxious to learn more about the great 
lake in the middle of the continent, and, besides this, 
he thought that he could demonstrate to the satisfaction 
of the scientific world that this vast basin of water was 
the source of the White Nile. Captain James A. Grant 
asked leave to accompany Speke, and became his efficient 
lieutenant. Grant was a good shot, a matter of impor- 
tance, for it was almost certain that the party would have 
to confront the danger of being surrounded by wild 
beasts and hostile natives. He was also a good geologist 
and painted well in water-colours, and proved himself 
to be a capable lieutenant to the leader of the party. 
The Indian government sent the expedition a quantity 
of ammunition and surveying instruments. 

The party started from Zanzibar for the interior in 
October, 1860. At Usugara they were detained by the 


illness of Captain Grant and some of the Hottentot re- 
tainers. A number of the instruments were now sent 
back in order to lighten the burdens, and among other 
things was returned the cumbrous photographic appara- 
tus, which was the only kind in use in the sixties. At 
Ugogo serious trouble arose with the native chiefs, who 
demanded tolls from the party. Many of the remaining 
porters here deserted, and others were frightened by the 
hostility of the local tribes. When at length they reached 
the Unyamivezi most of the beasts of burden had died, 
and half of the stores they had intended to bring with 
them were found to have been stolen by the natives. The 
Arabs here told Speke that there was another lake be- 
sides the Victoria, whose waters, according to some, were 
reported to be salty. 

Fierce internecine wars were now being waged be- 
tween the tribes of the locality, which made any 
thought of progress, so long as they lasted, an impossi- 
bility. Speke, having successfully endeavoured to nego- 
tiate a peace between thq chief Mouwa and the Arabs of 
the region, resolved upon the bold enterprise of pushing 
on without Grant and the supplies towards Buzina, the 
nearest country ruled by Bahima chiefs. The venture, 
however, was a fruitless one, and he bravely struggled 
to reach Usui. In this he succeeded, remaining there 
till October, 1861, when he went through the region of 
the Suwaroras, who demanded excessive tolls for per- 
mission to pass through their territory. Proceeding into 
the wilderness, they were met by envoys from Rumanika, 
a king whose court they intended to visit, and who had 


heard in advance of their impending journey. The mes- 
sengers of the king received them well and brought them 
to the court. Rumanika now desired them to remain at 
his capital until he had sent word before them that the 
party intended to go to Uganda. Grant, about this time, 
was laid up with an ulcerated leg; and, when the time 
came for moving forward, Speke was obliged to set out 
for Uganda alone, which place he entered on January 
16, 1862. He became a close friend of the royal family 
and the chief men, and his beard was a constant source 
of admiration and conversation. 

The illness of Grant prevented him from joining the 
party at Uganda till the end of May, and on July 7th 
of the same year, after many delays, they obtained leave 
from the king to leave Uganda. By July the 28th, Speke 
had reached the Ripon Falls, where the Victoria Nyanza 
branch of the Nile flows out of the great lake at the 
head of Napoleon Gulf. These falls were called after 
the Marquis of Ripon, who was then the president of the 
Royal Geographical Society. At this time, Grant, still 
convalescent, was moving by a more direct route towards 
Ungaro. Speke met him again on the way thither, and 
they finished their journey together. After suffering 
vexatious impositions from the monarch, Speke asked 
leave to go and visit a new lake which the natives called 
Lutanzige, but was refused permission. He then sent 
Bombay, his servant and interlocutor, along the course 
of the Nile towards the outposts of Pethrick. The mes- 
senger returned with hopeful news that there was a clear 
course open to them in that direction. The whole party 


then journeyed down the Kafu River to the point where 
it enters the Nile. On the way thither, they came to the 
Karuma Falls, and were obliged to march across swampy 
ground. Finally they met a Sudanese black named Mu- 
hammed Wad-el-Mek, who was dressed like an Egyptian 
and who spoke Arabic. Muhammed first of all told them 
that he had come from Pethrick, but it was later dis- 
covered that he was in the employment of Doctor Bono, 
a trader from Malta. The Sudanese was not anxious that 
the party should proceed, and told them stories about 
the impossibility of ascending the river at that time, 
during the month of December. It was difficult to dis- 
suade Speke, however, and on January 12, 1863, he set 
out for a place which is now called Affudu. There the 
party paused for awhile in order to kill enough game 
to feed the native servants. On the 1st of February, 
having forced some of the natives into their service as 
porters, they descended the Nile to its confluence with 
the Asua River. They next crossed this river, and pro- 
ceeded onwards to the Nile Rapids, and from thence 


skirted the borders of the Bari country. On February 
15, 1863, they made an entrance into Gondokoro, where 
the whole party was filled with joy to meet Sir Samuel 
Baker, who had arrived there on the way out to relieve 
them. They all advanced together to Khartum, after 
which Speke and Grant returned to England, in the 
spring of 1863. Thus was the task of the discovery of 
the sources of the Nile, which had baffled the seekers 
for many centuries, at length completed. Speke was 
received by the Prince of Wales (King Edward VII.), 



but the satisfaction of being allowed to place an addi- 
tional motto on his coat-of-arms was the only recogni- 
tion which he received for his services. 

As a result of Speke's discoveries, the Victoria 
Nyanza took its place on the maps of Africa, and a fair 
conception had been obtained of the size and shape of 
Lake Albert Nyanza. The whole course of the White 


Nile was also revealed with more or less accuracy, and 
all the mysterious surmises as to the great flow of the 
Nile from some unknown headwaters of enormous extent 
were now solved. It was only necessary to fill in the 
details of the map in regard to the great lakes and the 
rivers which flowed into them, and further to investigate 
the extensive territory between the lakes and the Egyp- 
tian settlements to the north. Sir Samuel Baker was the 
man who more than any other helped to supply the de- 


tails of the work already accomplished. From Cairo he 
started on a journey up the course of the Nile. When 
he had reached Berber, he chose the course of the At- 
bara, or Blue Nile, the branch which receives the floods 
of water from the Abyssinian table-lands. He travelled 
up the western frontier of Abyssinia, proceeding as far 
as the river Rahad, a river flowing into the Blue Nile 
from the Egyptian side. From this point Baker turned 
backwards towards Khartum, which he reached in June, 
1862, where he made a stay of some duration. He now 
made up his mind to search for Speke, and went up the 
White Nile as far as Gondokoro, where the meeting with 
Speke took place. Baker left this place March 26, 1863, 
but met with almost insuperable obstacles in trying to 
make further advance. The porters deserted, the camels 
died, and the ammunition and the presents intended to 
ease the way through the territory of native princes had 
to be all abandoned. Thus disencumbered, his party 
ascended the White Nile until they reached the Victoria 
affluent. The Bauyno tribes now prevented his intended 
advance to the Albert Nyanza. Baker, however, had the 
good fortune to be well received by the chieftain Kamu- 
rasi, and, as he was at this moment suffering from a 
severe attack of fever, the friendliness of this Central 
African chieftain was probably the means of saving his 
life. The king graciously received Baker's present of a 
double-barrelled gun, and then sent him onward with two 
guides and three hundred men. The party now managed 
to push their way to the shores of the Albert Nyanza. 
They first arrived at a place called Mbakovia, situated 


near the south-east coast, and on March 16, 1864, they 
saw for the first time the great lake itself, which they 
now named the Albert Nyanza. After a short stay at 
Mbakovia, they proceeded along the coast of the lake 
until they reached Magungo, where the Victoria branch 
of the Nile flows into the Albert Nyanza. Continuing the 
journey up the source of the Victoria Nile, they dis- 
covered the Murchison Falls. When they set out for the 
Karuma Falls the porters deserted, and after many des- 
perate adventures they at length returned to Khartum 
in May, 1865. Baker then went on to Berber, and crossed 
the desert to Suakin on the Red Sea. He returned to 
England late in the year 1865, and was received with 
honour and decorated by the queen with a well-earned 

In the year 1869 Baker entered the service of the 
Egyptian government, and was commissioned by the 
viceroy to subdue the regions of Equatorial Africa, and 
annex them to the Egyptian Empire. To succeed in this 
enterprise he waged many a war with African tribes like 
the Boni. On several occasions these conflicts had been 
forced upon him; on other occasions Baker Pasha was 
the aggressor, owing to his fixed determination to extend 
on all sides the limits of the Egyptian Sudan. With all 
the rulers, however, who treated him well, he remained 
on terms of loyalty and friendship; and, in time, he 
inspired them with respect for his fairness and liberality. 
Baker Pasha scattered the slave-traders on all sides, and, 
for the time being, effectually broke up their power. The 
slave-traders of the Sudan were of Arab nationality, and 


were in the habit of advancing farther, year by year, 
upon the villages of the defenceless Africans, and spread- 
ing their ravages into the heart of Africa. They always 
attacked the less warlike tribes, and, upon breaking into 
a negro settlement, would carry off the whole population, 
except the aged or sick. The slaves were herded together 
in vast numbers by help of logs of wood sawn in two, 
with holes cut large enough to enclose the neck of a 
slave, and the two sides of the log afterwards securely 
fastened again, thereby yoking together a row of these 
unfortunate beings. Every year, out of five hundred 
thousand or more slaves, at least half the number per- 
ished. The markets for the slaves were the cities of the 
Muhammedans all through North Africa, Syria, Turkey, 
and Persia. The death-dealing hardships to the slaves 
were for the most part endured on the long journey to 
Cairo, or, when the trade was suppressed there, to points 
north of the Sudan, such as Tripoli, or certain ports on 
the Red Sea. Those who were hardy enough to reach 
the slave-markets were usually well treated by their Mu- 
hammedan masters. During the time of Baker Pasha's 
administration, while he was pursuing the slave-traders 
and establishing Egyptian outposts, the whole course 
of the Nile from the Great Lakes became well known to 
the civilised world, though after this period Baker 
Pasha did not make any further voyages of discovery 
into unknown parts. 

During the years of 1859 and 1860, an adventurous 
Dutch lady of fortune, Miss Alexandrine Tinne, jour- 
neyed up the Nile as far as Gondokoro, and in 1861 she 


commenced to organise a daring expedition to find the 
source of the Bahr-el-Ghazel, and explore the territory 
between the Nile basin and Lake Chad. She started from 
Khartum, and ascended the Bahr-el-Ghazel as far as the 
affluent Bahr-el-Hamad. She then crossed overland as 
far as the Jur and Kosango Rivers, and reached the 
mountains on the outlying districts of the Nyam-Nyam 
country. Here the members of the expedition suffered 
from black- water fever, and only with the greatest diffi- 
culty were they able to return to Khartum, where they 
arrived in July, 1864. In 1868 Miss Tinne, nothing 
daunted, started for Lake Chad from Tripoli, with the 
intention of closing in upon the Nile from the eastern 
sources of the affluents of the Bahr-el-Ghazel. On reach- 
ing Wadi-Aberjong, however, this brave-hearted woman 
was waylaid by the fierce Tuaregs, and was beheaded 
August 1, 1868. 

In the sixties, Georg Schweinfurth, a native of Riga, 
in the Baltic provinces of Russia, set out to explore 
Nubia, Upper Egypt, and Abyssinia for botanical pur- 
poses. Subsequently the Royal Academy of Science in 
Berlin equipped him for an expedition to explore the 
region of the Bahr-el-Ghazel. He entered the Sudan 
by Suakin on the Red Sea, and crossed the desert to 
Berber, reaching Khartum on November 1, 1868. The 
following January he set out along the course of the 
White Nile, passed Getina, and examined the vegetation 
(sudd) which had drifted down from all the affluents 
of the White Nile. He prolonged his stay for three years 
on the Bahr-el-Ghazel, solely absorbed in scientific 


studies, and, unlike his predecessors, he was unconcerned 
with reforms and attempts to suppress the slave-trade. 

Schweinfurth penetrated so far into the heart of 
Africa that he reached the Congo basin and explored the 
upper waters of the Welle River, and on his return to 
Europe he published a work, in 1873, called " The Heart 
of Africa." In this book he tried to demonstrate that 
the area of the Victoria Nyanza was taken up by a chain 
of five lakes. 

About this time, in the same year, the famous Henry 
Morton Stanley returned to London from his adven- 
turous discovery and relief of Dr. David Livingstone. 
The distinguished missionary and explorer died not long 
afterwards, and the fame of his brilliant discoveries and 
heroic life aroused great sympathy and interest in Afri- 
can exploration. The great river which Livingstone had 
explored was believed by him to have been the Nile, but 
w r as more correctly thought by others to have been the 
Congo River. On account of the interest aroused in 
Livingstone, the New York Herald and the Daily Tele- 
graph of London decided to send Stanley on a fully 
equipped expedition to solve the many problems relating 
to the heart of Africa about which the civilised world 
was still in the dark. 

Stanley chose the route of Zanzibar, and, landing 
there, he went up the course of the river and crossed 
the country to the Victoria Nyanza by the way of Un- 
yamwezi. He reached the lake by the end of February, 
1875. On March the 8th he set out to explore the shores 
of the lake, and mapped the whole region, including its 


bays, islands, and archipelagoes, with a considerable 
amount of accuracy. He also examined Napoleon Gulf, 
and reached as far as Ripon Falls, at which point the 
waters of the lake flow towards the Albert Nyanza. He 
then verified the accuracy of Speke's supposition that 
the Victoria Nyanza really was the main source of the 
White Nile. Stanley set out from Uganda at the end of 
the year 1875, and travelled across the country to the 
Congo. About the same time three English surveyors, 
Colonels Purdy, Colston, and Sidney Enser, made sev- 
eral topographical reports on much of the territory be- 
tween the Bahr-el-Ghazel, the Shari, and the Nile. Later 
on, in 1876, General Gordon sent Romolo Gesei, an Italian 
in the service of the khedive, to navigate and to ex- 
plore Lake Albert Nyanza. In the following year Colo- 
nel Mason, an American, surveyed the lake, of which 
he made an accurate topographical chart. 

In the year 1880, Mr. E. G. Ravenstein, an eminent 
geographer, made some valuable surveys of eastern equa- 
torial Africa, which had the effect of inciting the Royal 
Geographical Society to send out, in 1882, an expedition 
under Joseph Thomson, a brilliant young African ex- 
plorer, in order to find out a direct route to the Victoria 
Nyanza. Thomson set out from Momhasa early in the 
year 1883, but he never succeeded in realising the pur- 
pose of his mission. 

Emin Pasha, as we have seen, was the governor ap- 
pointed by the khedive to rule the Egyptian equatorial 
provinces. He made a few discoveries, such as the Sem- 
liki River, which was called by him Divern. Whilst he 


was engaged in travelling through the Bahr-el-Ghazel 
district, the revolt of the Mahdi occurred, and Emin 
Pasha was isolated from the outer world. In the year 
1886 Doctor Junker returned to Europe from Emin, and 
roused great interest by his account of the adventures 
of the pasha, whom most people had believed to have 
died, but whom they now learned had set up an inde- 
pendent sovereignty in the heart of Africa, awaiting 
anxiously the advent of a relief expedition. Then Henry 
M. Stanley volunteered to go out on a relief expedition 
to bring Emin Pasha home. 

Stanley avoided the route through the German colony 
on the East, and started upon his ever memorable relief 
expedition by the Congo route. The veteran adventurer 
succeeded in relieving Emin Pasha, and, furthermore, he 
discovered the Mountains of the Moon, called by the 
natives Ruwenjori, on May 24, 1888. He also traced to 
its sources the Semliki River, and explored Lake Albert 
Edward and a gulf of the Victoria to the south-west. 
The remainder of this famous journey, for the success 
of which he was knighted as Sir Henry M. Stanley, was 
outside the basin of the Nile, and is recorded in his book, 
" Through Darkest Africa.' ' 

In 1900, Dr. Donaldson Smith, an American, made 
an important journey through the countries between the 
north end of Lake Rudolf and the Mountain Nile. 


















The Rosetta Stone : The Discoveries of Dr. Thomas Young : The Classification 
of the Egyptian Alphabet by Champollion : Egyptian Love-songs and the 
Book of the Dead. 

ONSPICTTOUSLY placed in the great hall 

of Egyptian antiquities, in the British 

lb* IVc/*^ Museum, is a wonderful piece of sculpture 

^/^S^TT known as the Rosetta Stone. A glance 

at its graven surface suffices to show 
that three sets of inscriptions are recorded there. The 
upper one, occupying about one-fourth of the surface, 
is a pictured scroll, made up of chains of those strange 
outlines of serpents, hawks, lions, and so on, which are 
recognised, even by the least initiated, as hieroglyphics. 
The middle inscription, made up of lines, angles, and 
half -pictures, one might suppose to be a sort of abbrevi- 
ated or shorthand hieroglyphic. The third, or lower, 
inscription, is manifestly Greek, obviously a thing of 

x The early portion of this chapter is selected, by kind permission of Dr. 

Henry Smith Williams, from his " History of the Art of Writing," Copyright, 

1902 and 1903. 



words. If the screeds above be also made of words, only 
the elect have any way of proving the fact. 

Fortunately, however, even the least scholarly ob- 
server is left in no doubt as to the real import of the 
thing he sees, for an obliging English label tells us that 
these three inscriptions are renderings of the same mes- 
sage, and that this message is a " decree of the Priests 
of Memphis conferring divine honours on Ptolemy V., 
Epiphanes, King of Egypt, b. c. 195." The label goes 
on to state that the upper transcription (of which, un- 
fortunately, only parts of the last dozen lines or so re- 
main, the slab being broken) is in " the Egyptian lan- 
guage, in hieroglyphics, or writing of the priests "; the 
second inscription in the same language, " in demotic, 
or the writing of the people "; and the third " in the 
Greek language and character." 

Then comes a brief biography of the Rosetta Stone 
itself, as follows : ' ' This stone was found by the French 
in 1798 among the ruins of Fort St. Julian, near the 
Rosetta mouth of the Nile. It passed into the hands of 


the British by the treaty of Alexandria, and was depos- 
ited in the British Museum in the year 1801." There is 
a whole volume of history in that brief inscription, and 
a bitter sting thrown in, if the reader chance to be a 
Frenchman. Yet the facts involved could scarcely be 
suggested more modestly. They are recorded much more 
bluntly in a graven inscription on the side of the stone, 
which runs: " Captured in Egypt by the British Army, 
1801." No Frenchman could read those words without 
a sinking of the heart. 


The value of the Eosetta Stone depended on the fact 
that it gave promise, even when originally inspected, 
of furnishing a key to the centuries-old mystery of the 
hieroglyphics. For two thousand years the secret of 
these strange markings had been forgotten. Nowhere 
in the world— quite as little in Egypt as elsewhere— had 
any man the slightest clue to their meaning ; there were 
even those who doubted whether these droll picturings 
really had any specific meaning, questioning whether they 
were not merely vague symbols of esoteric religious 
import and nothing more. And it was the Eosetta Stone 
that gave the answer to these doubters, and restored to 
the world a lost language and a forgotten literature. 

The trustees of the British Museum recognised that 
the problem of the Eosetta Stone was one on which the 
scientists of the world might well exhaust their inge- 
nuity, and they promptly published a carefully litho- 
graphed copy of the entire inscription, so that foreign 
scholarship had equal opportunity with British to try 
to solve the riddle. How difficult a riddle it was, even 
with this key in hand, is illustrated by the fact that, 
though scholars of all nations brought their ingenuity 
to bear upon it, nothing more was accomplished for a 
dozen years than to give authority to three or four 
guesses regarding the nature of the upper inscriptions, 
which, as it afterwards proved, were quite incorrect and 
altogether misleading. This in itself is sufficient to show 
that ordinary scholarship might have studied the Eo- 
setta Stone till the end of time without getting far on 
the track of its secrets. The key was there, but to apply 


it required the inspired insight— that is to say, the 
shrewd guessing power— of genius. 

The man who undertook the task had perhaps the 
keenest scientific imagination and the most versatile 
profundity of knowledge of his generation— one is 
tempted to say, of any generation. For he was none 
other than the extraordinary Dr. Thomas Young, the 
demonstrator of the vibratory nature of light. 

Young had his attention called to the Rosetta Stone 
by accident, and his usual rapacity for knowledge at 
once led him to speculate as to the possible aid this 
tri-lingual inscription might give in the solution of Egyp- 
tian problems. Resolving at once to attempt the solu- 
tion himself, he set to work to learn Koptic, which was 
rightly believed to represent the nearest existing ap- 
proach to the ancient Egyptian language. His amazing 
facility in the acquisition of languages stood him in such 
good stead that within a year of his first efforts he had 
mastered Koptic and assured himself that the ancient 
Egyptian language was really similar to it, and had even 
made a tentative attempt at the translation of the Egyp- 
tian scroll. His results were only tentative, to be sure, 
yet they constituted the very beginnings of our knowl- 
edge regarding the meaning of hieroglyphics. Just how 
far they carried has been a subject of ardent controversy 
ever since. Not that there is any doubt about the specific 
facts; what is questioned is the exact importance of these 
facts. For it is undeniable that Young did not complete 
and perfect the discovery, and, as always in such matters, 
there is opportunity for difference of opinion as to the 


share of credit due to each of the workers who entered 
into the discovery. 

Young's specific discoveries were these: (1) that 
many of the pictures of the hieroglyphics stand for the 
names of the objects actually delineated; (2) that other 
pictures are sometimes only symbolic; (3) that plural 
numbers are represented by repetition; (4) that numer- 
als are represented by dashes; (5) that hieroglyphics 
may read either from the right or from the left, but 
always from the direction in which the animals and 
human figures face; (6) that proper names are sur- 
rounded by a graven oval ring, making what he called 
a cartouche; (7) that the cartouches of the preserved 
portion of the Rosetta Stone stand for the name of Ptol- 
emy alone; (8) that the presence of a female figure after 
such cartouches, in other inscriptions, always denotes 
the female sex; (9) that within the cartouches the hier- 
oglyphic symbols have a positively ^phonetic value, either 
alphabetic or syllabic; and (10) that several different 
characters may have the same phonetic value. 

Just what these phonetic values are, Doctor Young 
pointed out in the case of fourteen characters, repre- 
senting nine sounds, six of which are accepted to-day 
as correctly representing the letters to which he ascribed 
them, and the three others as being correct regarding 
their essential or consonantal element. It is clear, there- 
fore, that he was on the right track thus far, and on the 
very verge of complete discovery. But, unfortunately, 
he failed to take the next step, which would have been 
to realise that the same phonetic values given the alpha- 




betic characters within the cartouches were often 
ascribed to them also when used in the general text of 
an inscription; in other words, that the use of an alpha- 
bet was not confined to proper names. This was the 
great secret which Young missed, but which his French 
successor, Jean Francois Champollion, working on the 


foundation that Young had laid, was enabled to ferret 

Young's initial studies of the Rosetta Stone were 
made in 1814; his later publications bore date of 1819. 
Champollion's first announcement of results came in 
1822; his second and more important one in 1824. By 
this time, through study of the cartouches of other in- 


scriptions, he had made out almost the complete alphabet, 
and the " Riddle of the Sphinx " was practically solved. 
He proved that the Egyptians had developed a relatively 
complete alphabet (mostly neglecting the vowels, as 
early Semitic alphabets did also) centuries before the 
Phoenicians were heard of in history. 

Even this statement, however, must in a measure be 
modified. These pictures are letters and something more. 
Some of them are purely alphabetical in character, and 
some are symbolic in another way. Some characters rep- 
resent syllables. Others stand sometimes as mere repre- 
sentatives of sounds, and again, in a more extended 
sense, as representatives of things, such as all hiero- 
glyphics doubtless were in the beginning. In a word, 
this is an alphabet, but not a perfected alphabet such as 
modern nations generally use. 

The word " hieroglyphic " is applied, as we have 
seen, to various forms of picture writing; but the orig- 
inal interpretation which the Greeks, who invented it, 
put upon the word was the " holy writing " of the Egyp- 
tians. The earliest Greek travellers who went to Egypt, 
when that country was finally opened up to the outside 
world, must' have noticed the strange picture scrolls 
everywhere to be seen there on the temple walls, on obe- 
lisks, on statues, and mummy-cases, as well as on papy- 
rus rolls, which were obviously intended to serve the 
purpose of handing down records of events to future 

It is now known that this writing of the Egyptians 
was of a most extraordinary compound character. Part 


of its pictures are used as direct representations of the 
objects presented. Here are some examples: 


c y e ' <2J>- mau * eyes. 

I pau birds. 

Again the picture of an object becomes an ideograph, 
as in the following instances: 

rr\net honey. 

soul — " 

D ^ 

pet to see. 

Here the sacred ibis or the sacred bull symbolises the 
soul. The bee stands for honey, the eyes for the verb 
" to see." Yet again these pictures may stand neither 
as pictures of things nor as ideographs, but as having 
the phonetic value of a syllable: 

pa the ^O^ melt to fill. 

I j pet the sky or heaven. 

y^u fo protect O^f ^ a tntrie. 

n o Oo^ 

pet fhe sky. p= _,j s pcr heaven ■ earth. 

~L_| 3c*^l , &* heaven earth end!, 
n ex + UP^ n „+ (to open out, 

%% p et to sec - a a pet — y f o extend - 

pet a kind of unguent. 


Such syllabic signs may be used either singly, as above, 
or in combination, as illustrated below. 



But one other stage of evolution is possible, namely, 
the use of signs with a purely alphabetical significance. 
The Egyptians made this step also, and their strangely 
conglomerate writing makes use of the following al- 
phabet : 






f, w 






r, 1 

QO. JlT^T 









In a word, then, the Egyptian writing has passed 
through all the stages of development, from the purely 
pictorial to the alphabetical, but with this strange quali- 
fication,— that while advancing to the later stages it re- 
tains the use of crude earlier forms. As Canon Taylor 
has graphically phrased it, the Egyptian writing is a 
completed structure, but one from which the scaffolding 
has not been removed. 

The next step would have been to remove the now 
useless scaffolding, leaving a purely alphabetical writing 
as the completed structure. Looking at the matter from 
the modern standpoint, it seems almost incredible that 


so intelligent a people as the Egyptians should have failed 
to make this advance. Yet the facts stand, that as early 
as the time of the Pyramid Builders, say four thousand 
years b. c., 1 the Egyptians had made the wonderful anal- 
ysis of sounds, without which the invention of an alpha- 
bet would be impossible. They had set aside certain of 
their hieroglyphic symbols and given them alphabetical 
significance. They had learned to write their words with 
the use of this alphabet; and it would seem as if, in the 
course of a few generations, they must come to see how 
unnecessary was the cruder form of picture-writing 
which this alphabet would naturally supplant; but, in 
point of fact, they never did come to a realisation of this 
seemingly simple proposition. Generation after genera- 
tion and century after century, they continued to use 
their same cumbersome, complex writing, and it remained 
for an outside nation to prove that an alphabet pure and 
simple was capable of fulfilling all the conditions of a 
written language. 

Thus in practice there are found in the hieroglyphics 
the strangest combinations of ideographs, syllabic signs, 
and alphabetical signs or true letters used together indis- 

It was, for example, not at all unusual, after spelling 
a word syllabically or alphabetically, to introduce a figure 
giving the idea of the thing intended, and then even to 

1 The latest word on the subject of the origin of the alphabet takes back 
some of the primitive phonetic signs to prehistoric times. Among these pre- 
historic signs are the letters A, E, I, O, U, (V), F and M. Other signs are seen 
in the diagram on page 309. 


supplement this with a so-called determinative sign or 

^3 qeften monkey j$Y&h 9 enu cavalry. 

temati %vings. J^^^rrj^/w quadrupeds. 

Here Queften, monkey, is spelled out in full, but the 
picture of a monkey is added as a determinative ; second, 
Qenu, cavalry, after being spelled, is made unequivocal 
by the introduction of a picture of a horse; third, Temati, 
wings, though spelled elaborately, has pictures of wings 
added; and fourth, Tatu, quadrupeds, after being spelled, 
has a picture of a quadruped, and then the picture of 
a hide, which is the usual determinative of a quadruped, 
followed by three dashes to indicate the plural number. 1 
These determinatives are in themselves so interesting, 
as illustrations of the association of ideas, that it is worth 
while to add a few more examples. The word Pet , which 
signifies heaven, and which has also the meaning up or 
even, is represented primarily by what may be supposed 
to be a conventionalised picture of the covering to the 
earth. But this picture, used as a determinative, is curi- 
ously modified in the expression of other ideas, as it sym- 
bolises evening when a closed flower is added, and night 
when a star hangs in the sky, and rain or tempest when 

1 Another illustration of the plural number is seen in the sign Pau, on page 
298, where the plural is indicated in the same manner. 


a series of zigzag lines, which by themselves represent 
water, are appended. 

x^a Q maser evening. ^^^f^Hehiu darkness 
£ffnf» hai rain. *^lM&n&' rempest 

As aids to memory such pictures are obviously of advan- 
tage, but this advantage in the modern view is outweighed 
by the cumbrousness of the system of writing as a whole. 

Why was such a complex system retained? Chiefly, 
no doubt, because the Egyptians, like all other highly 
developed peoples, were conservatives. They held to their 
old method after a better one had been invented. But 
this inherent conservatism was enormously aided, no 
doubt, by the fact that the Egyptian language, like the 
Chinese, has many words that have a varied significance, 
making it seem necessary, or at least highly desirable, 
either to spell such words with different signs, or, hav- 
ing spelled them in the same way, to introduce the varied 

Here are some examples of discrimination between 
words of the same sound by the use of different signs: 

pa the. Ill III III pant nine. 

p pa house %$jfiP«*-{£i& 

\paut company. J^« paut good. 

iy - fib 

q© pout cycle. 


Here, it will be observed, exactly the same expedient 
is adopted which we still retain when we discriminate 
between words of the same sound by different spelling, 
as to, two, too; whole, hole; through, threw, etc. 

But the more usual Egyptian method was to resort 
to the determinatives; the result seems to us most ex- 
traordinary. After what has been said, the following 
examples will explain themselves: 

X^!^ tobe gfj w «*> open. |p|? un shrine. 

•JCSS* i un appearance. ^^%^«^ lighltiess. 
^^X^flwi shaved ^SX%un ropulJ ourhair 


It goes without saying that the great mass of people 
in Egypt were never able to write at all. Had they been 
accustomed to do so, the Egyptians would have been a 
nation of artists. Even as the case stands, a remarkable 
number of men must have had their artistic sense well 
developed, for the birds, animals, and human figures con- 
stantly presented on their hieroglyphic scrolls are drawn 
with a fidelity which the average European of to-day 
would certainly find far beyond his skill. 

Until Professor Petrie * published his " Medum," and 
Professor Erman his " Grammar," no important work 
on Egyptian hieroglyphic writing had appeared in recent 
years. Professor Petrie 's " Medum " is the mainstay 

1 The information as to the modern investigation in hieroglyphics has been 
obtained from F. L. Griffith's paper in the 6th Memoir of the Archaeological 
Survey on Hieroglyphics from the collections of the Egypt Exploration Fund, 
London, 1894-95. 


of the student in regard to examples of form for the 
old kingdom; but for all periods detailed and trustworthy 
drawings and photographs are found among the enor- 
mous mass of published texts. 1 There is an important 
collection of facsimiles at University College, London, 
made for Professor Petrie by Miss Paget. A large pro- 
portion of these are copied from the collections from Beni 
Hasan and El Bersheh; others are from coffins of later 
periods, and have only paleographical interest; and oth- 
ers are from earlier coffins in the British Museum. But 
the flower of the collection consists in exquisite drawings 
of sculptured hieroglyphics, sometimes with traces of 
colour, from the tomb of Phtahhotep at Saqqara, supple- 
mented by a few from other tombs in the same neighbour- 
hood, and from the pyramid of Papi I. These were all 
copied on the spot in 1895—96. 

The only critical list of hieroglyphics with their pow- 
ers published recently is that of Erman, printed in his 
" Grammar." The system by which he classifies the 
values— obscured in the English edition by the substi- 
tution of the term of " ideograph " for W ortzeiclien 
(word- sign)— displays the author's keen insight into the 
nature of hieroglyphic writing, and the list itself is highly 

In the ease of an altogether different system of an- 
cient writing that has come down to us,— the old cunei- 
form syllabary of the Assyrians,— dictionaries, glossaries, 

1 To these may now be added the 105 coloured signs in Beni Hasan, Part 
TIL, and still more numerous examples in the Memoir of the Egypt Exploration 
Fund (Archaeological Survey), for the season 1895-96. 


and other works of a grammatical character have been 
preserved to the present day. Documents such as these 
are, of course, of material aid in regard to obscure texts, 
but in the case of the Egyptian writing the only surviving 
native word-list is the Sign Papyrus of Tanis, 1 which 
is, unfortunately, of the Roman Period, when the original 
meanings of the signs had been well-nigh forgotten. It 
has its own peculiar interest, but seldom furnishes the 
smallest hint to the seeker after origins. The famous 
" Hieroglyphics of Horapollo " occasionally contains a 
reminiscence of true hieroglyphics, but may well be a 
composition of the Middle Ages, embodying a tiny modi- 
cum of half-genuine tradition that had survived until 

Scattered throughout Egyptological literature there 
are, as may be imagined, many attempts at explaining 
individual signs. But any endeavour to treat Egyptian 
hieroglyphics critically, to ascertain their origins, the 
history of their use, the original distinction or the rela- 
tionship of signs that resemble each other, reveals how 
little is really known about them. For study, good ex- 
amples showing detail and colouring at different periods 
are needed, and the evidence furnished by form and colour 
must be checked by examination of their powers in 

In investigating the powers of the uses of the signs, 
dictionaries give most important aid to the student. The 
key-words of the meanings, viz., the names of the objects 

1 Egypt Exploration Fund, Ninth Memoir, 1889-1890. This is an extra 
volume, now out of print. 


or actions depicted, are often exceedingly rare in the 
texts. Doctor Brugsch's great Dictionary (1867—82) fre- 
quently settles with close accuracy the meanings of the 
words considered in it, supplying by quotations the proof 
of his conclusions. 1 

In 1872, Brugsch, in his " Grammaire Hierogly- 
phique," published a useful list of signs with their pho- 
netic and ideographic values, accompanying them with 
references to his Dictionary, and distinguishing some of 
the specially early and late forms. We may also note the 
careful list in Lepsius' " Aegyptische Lesestiicke," 1883. 

Champollion in his " Grammaire Egyptienne," issued 
after the author's death in 1836, gave descriptive names 
to large numbers of the signs. In 1848, to the first volume 
of Bunsen's " Egypt's Place in Universal History," Birch 

1 There has been in preparation since 1897 an exhaustive dictionary, to be 
published under the auspices of the German government. The academies 
of Berlin, Gottingen, Leipsig and Munich have charge of the work, and they 
have nominated as their respective commissioners Professors Erman, Pietsch- 
mann, Steindorff, and Ebers (since deceased). This colossal undertaking is the 
fitting culmination of the labours of a century in the Egyptian language and 
writing. The collection and arrangement of material are estimated to occupy 
eleven years; printing may thus be begun about 1908. 

Despite its uncritical method of compilation, Levy's bulky Vocabulary 
(1887-1804), with its two supplements and long tables of signs, is indispensable 
in this branch of research, since it gives a multitude of references to rare words 
and forms of words that occur in notable publications of recent date, such as 
Maspero's excellent edition of the Pyramid Texts. There are also some impor- 
tant special indices, such as Stern's excellent " Glossary of the Papyrus Ebers," 
Piehl's " Vocabulary of the Harris Papyrus," Erman's " Glossary of the Westcar 
Papyrus," and Doctor Budge's " Vocabulary " of the XVIIIth Dynasty " Book 
of the Dead." Schack's Index to the Pyramid Texts will prove to be an impor- 
tant work, and the synoptic index of parallel chapters prefixed to the work is of 
the greatest value in the search for variant spellings. 


contributed a long list of hieroglyphics, with descriptions 
and statements of their separate phonetic and ideographic 
values. De Rouge, in his " Catalogue des signes hiero- 
glyphiques de Pimprimerie nationale," 1851, attached to 
each of many hundreds of signs and varieties of signs a 
short description, often very correct. He again dealt with 
the subject in 1867, and published a " Catalogue Rai- 
sonne " of the more usual signs in the first Uvraison of his 
" Chrestomathie Egyptienne." Useful to the student as 
these first lists were, in the early stages of decipherment, 
they are now of little value. For, at the time they were 
made, the fine early forms were mostly unstudied, and the 
signs were taken without discrimination from texts of all 
periods; moreover, the outlines of the signs were inac- 
curately rendered, their colours unnoted, and their 
phonetic and ideographic powers very imperfectly de- 
termined. Thus, whenever doubt was possible as to the 
object represented by a sign, little external help was 
forthcoming for correct identification. To a present-day 
student of the subject, the scholarly understanding of De 
Rouge and the ingenuity of Birch are apparent, but the 
aid which they afford him is small. 

As a result of recent discoveries, some very interest- 
ing researches have been made in Egyptian paleography 
in what is known as the signary. 1 We reach signs which 
seem to be disconnected from the known hieroglyphs, and 
we are probably touching on the system of geometrical 
signs used from prehistoric to Roman times in Egypt, and 

x The information regarding the alphabet here given is derived from the 
Eighteenth Memoir of the Egypt Exploration Fund, 1899-1890. 


also in other countries around the Mediterranean. How 
far these signs are originally due to geometrical inven- 
tion, or how far due to corruption of some picture, we can- 
not say. But in any case they stood so detached from the 
hieroglyphic writing and its hieratic and demotic deriva- 
tions, that they must be treated as a separate system. For 
the present the best course is to show here the similarity 
of forms between these marks and those known in Egypt 
in earlier and later times, adding the similar forms in the 
Karian and Spanish alphabets. The usage of such forms 
in the same country from about 6000 b. c. down to 1200 
b. c, or later, shows that we have to deal with a definite 
system. And it seems impossible to separate that used 
in 1200 b. c. in Egypt from the similar forms found in 
other lands connected with Egypt from 800 b. c. down to 
later times : we may find many of these also in the Kretan 
inscriptions long before 800 b. c. The only conclusion 
then seems to be that a great body of signs— or a signary 
—was in use around the Mediterranean for several thou- 
sand years. Whether these signs were ideographic or 
syllabic or alphabetic in the early stages we do not know; 
certainly they were alphabetic in the later stage. And the 
identity of most of the signs in Asia Minor and Spain 
shows them to belong to a system with commonly received 
values in the later times. 

What then becomes of the Phoenician legend of the 
alphabet? Certainly the so-called Phoenician letters were 
familiar long before the rise of Phoenician influence. 
What is really due to the Phoenicians seems to have been 
the selection of a short series (only half the amount of the 















Prehis. 1st Dyn. XIUhDyA XVII! D. 


surviving alphabets) for numerical purposes, as A = 1, 
E = 5, I = 10, N = 50, P = 100, <£ = 500, etc. This usage 
would soon render these 
signs as invariable in order 
as our own numbers, and 
force the use of them on all 
countries with which the 
Phoenicians traded. Hence, 
before long these signs 
drove out of use all others, 
except in the less changed 
civilisations of Asia Minor 
and Spain. According to 
our modern authorities this 
exactly explains the phe- 
nomena of the early Greek 
alphabets; many in variety, 
and so diverse that each has 
to be learned separately, 
and yet entirely uniform in 
order. Each tribe had its 
own signs for certain 
sounds, varying a good 
deal; yet all had to follow 
a fixed numerical system. 
Certainly all did not learn 
their forms from an inde- 
pendent Phoenician alpha- 
bet, unknown to them be- 
fore it was selected. 

























B H 







d n 








































d fr 




) c 

1 (D 

> ) 

































x ir 












I s A A 







MA/ 1 ? 


























m UJ 

mm y 




















\A V» 
























J" 1 






The work of Young and Champollion, says Doctor 
Williams, 1 gives a new interest to the mass of records, in 
the form of graven inscriptions, and papyrus rolls, and 
cases and wrappings, which abound in Egypt, but which 
hitherto had served no better purpose for centuries than 
to excite, without satisfying, the curiosity of the traveller. 
Now these strange records, so long enigmatic, could be 
read, and within the past fifty years a vast literature of 
translations of these Egyptian records has been given to 
the world. It was early discovered that the hieroglyphic 
character was not reserved solely for sacred inscriptions, 
as the Greeks had supposed in naming it; indeed, the in- 
scription of the Rosetta Stone sufficiently dispelled that 
illusion. But no one, perhaps, was prepared for the reve- 
lations that were soon made as to the extent of range of 
these various inscriptions, and the strictly literary char- 
acter of some of them. 

A large proportion of these inscriptions are, to be 
sure, religious in character, but there are other extensive 
inscriptions, such as those on the walls of the temple of 
Karnak, that are strictly historical ; telling of the warlike 
deeds of such mighty kings as Thutmosis III. and Ramses 
II. Again, there are documents which belong to the do- 
main of belles-lettres pure and simple. Of these the best 
known example is the now famous " Tale of Two Broth- 
ers "—the prototype of the " modern " short story. 

Up to the middle of the nineteenth century, no Egypt- 
ologist had discovered that the grave-faced personages 
who lie in their mummy-cases in our great museums ever 

1 History of the Art of Writing, Portfolio I., plate 8. 


read or composed romance. Their literature, as far as 
recovered, was of an eminently serious nature,— hymns 
to the divinities, epic poems, writings on magic and sci- 
ence, business letters, etc., but no stories. In 1852, how- 
ever, an Englishwoman, Mrs. Elizabeth d'Orbiney, sent 
M. de Rouge, at Paris, a papyrus she had purchased in 
Italy, and whose contents she was anxious to know. Thus 
was the tale of the " Two Brothers " brought to light, 
and for twelve years it remained our sole specimen of 
a species of literature which is now constantly being 
added to. 

This remarkable papyrus dates from the thirteenth 
century b. c, and was the work of Anna, one of the most 
distinguished temple-scribes of his age. Indeed, it is to 
him that we are indebted for a large portion of the Egyp- 
tian literature that has been preserved to us. This par- 
ticular work was executed for Seti II., son of Meneptah, 
and grandson of Ramses II. of the nineteenth dynasty, 
while he was yet crown prince. 

The tale itself is clearly formed of two parts. The 
first, up to the Bata's self-exile to the Valley of the Cedar, 
gives a really excellent picture of the life and habits of 
the peasant dwelling on the banks of the Nile. The civ- 
ilisation and moral conditions it describes are distinctly 
Egyptian. Were it not for such details as the words 
spoken by the cows, and the miraculous appearance of the 
body of water between the two brothers, we might say 
the ancient Egyptians were strict realists in their theory 
of fiction. But the second part leads us through marvels 
enough to satisfy the most vivid of imaginations. It is 


possible, therefore, that the tale as we have it was orig- 
inally two separate stories. 

The main theme of the story has occupied a great deal 
of attention. Its analogy to the Biblical narrative of 
Joseph and Potiphar's wife comes at once into the read- 
er's mind. But there is just as close a similarity in the 
Greek tales, where the hero is killed or his life endangered 
for having scorned the guilty love of a woman, as in the 
stories of tHippolytus, Peleus, Bellerophon, and the son 
of Glaucus, not to mention the extraordinary adventure 
of Amgiad and Assad, sons of Prince Kamaralzaman, in 
the Thousand and One Nights. 

The religions of Greece and Western Asia likewise 
contain myths that can be compared almost point for 
point with the tale of the two brothers. In Phrygia, for 
example, Atyo scorns the love of the goddess Cybele, as 
does Bata the love of Anpu's wife. Like Bata, again, 
he mutilates himself, and is transformed into a pine 
instead of a persea tree. Are we, therefore, to seek for 
the common origin of all the myths and romance in the 
tragedy of Anpu and Bata that was current, we know not 
how long, before the days of King Seti? 

Of one thing we may be sure : of this particular type 
the Egyptian tale is by far the oldest that we possess, 
and, if we may not look to the valley of the Nile as the 
original home of the popular tale, we may justly regard 
it as the localitv where it was earliest naturalised and 
assumed a true literary form. 

Analogies to the second part of the tale are even more 
numerous and curious. They are to be found everywhere, 


in France, Italy, Germany, Hungary, in Russia and all 
Slavonic countries, Roumania, Peloponnesia, in Asia 
Minor, Abyssinia, and even India. 

Of late years an ever-increasing accumulation of the 
literature of every age of Egyptian history has either 
been brought to light or for the first time studied from 
a wider point of view than was formerly possible. In 
making a few typical selections from the mass of this 
new material, none perhaps are more worthy of note 
than some of the love-songs which have been translated 
into German from Egyptian in " Die Liebespoesie der 
Alten iEgypten," by W. Max Muller. This is a very 
careful edition of the love-songs on the recto (or upper 
surface) of the Harris Papyrus 500, and of similar lyrics 
from Turin, Gizeh, and Paris. The introduction contains 
an account of Egyptian notions of love and marriage, 
gathered from hieroglyphic and demotic sources, and a 
chapter is devoted to the forms of Egyptian verse, its 
rhythm and accent. The interesting " Song of the 
Harper," which is found on the same Harris Papyrus, 
is also fully edited and collated with the parallel texts 
from the Theban tombs, and compared with other writ- 
ings dealing with death from the agnostic point of view. 
The following extracts are translated from the German: 


I will lie down within doors 

For I am sick with wrongs. 
Then my neighbours come in to visit me. 

With them cometh my sister, 
She will make fun of the physicians ; 

She knoweth mine illness. 



The villa of my sister ! — 

Her gates (are) in the midst of the domain — 
(So oft as) its portals open, 

(So oft as) the bolt is withdrawn, 
Then is my sister angry : 

were I but set as the gatekeeper ! 
I should cause her to chide me; 

(Then) I should hear her voice in anger, 
A child in fear before her ! 


The voice of the wild goose crieth, 

(For) she hath taken her bait ; 
(But) thy love restraineth me, 

I cannot free her (from the snare) ; 

(So) must I take (home) my net. 

What (shall I say) to my mother, 
To whom (I am wont) to come daily 

Laden with wild fowl ? 

1 lay not my snare to-day 

(For) thy love hath taken hold upon me. 

The most ardent interest that has been manifested in 
the Egyptian records had its origin in the desire to find 
evidence corroborative of the Hebrew accounts of the 
Egyptian captivity of the Jewish people. 1 The Egyptian 
word-treasury being at last unlocked, it was hoped that 
much new light would be thrown on Hebrew history. But 
the hope proved illusive. After ardent researches of hosts 
of fervid seekers for half a century, scarcely a word of 
reference to the Hebrews has been found among the 

1 The only inscription relating directly to the Israelites will be found 
described in Chapter VII. 


Egyptian records. If depicted at all, the Hebrew cap- 
tives are simply grouped with other subordinate peoples, 
not even considered worthy of the dignity of names. 
Nor is this strange when one reflects on the subordinate 
position which the Hebrews held in the ancient world. 
In historical as in other matter, much depends upon the 
point of view, and a series of events that seemed all- 
important from the Hebrew standpoint might very well 
be thought too insignificant for record from the point 
of view of a great nation like the Egyptians. But the 
all-powerful pen wrought a conquest for the Hebrews in 
succeeding generations that their swords never achieved, 
and, thanks to their literature, succeeding generations 
have cast historical perspective to the winds in viewing 
them. Indeed, such are the strange mutations of time 
that, had any scribe of ancient Egypt seen fit to scrawl 
a dozen words about the despised Israelite captives, and 
had this monument been preserved, it would have out- 
weighed in value, in the opinion of nineteenth-century 
Europe, all the historical records of Thutmosis, Ramses, 
and their kin that have come down to us. But seemingly 
no scribe ever thought it worth his while to make such 
an effort. 

It has just been noted that the hieroglyphic inscrip- 
tions are by no means restricted to sacred subjects. 
Nevertheless, the most widely known book of the Egyp- 
tians was, as might be expected, one associated with the 
funeral rites that played so large a part in the thoughts 
of the dwellers by the Nile. This is the document known 
as " The Chapters of the Coming-Forth by Day," or, as 


it is more commonly interpreted, " The Book of the 
Dead." It is a veritable book in scope, inasmuch as the 
closely written papyrus roll on which it is enscrolled 
measures sometimes seventy feet in length. It is vir- 
tually the Bible of the Egyptians, and, as in the case of 
the sacred books of other nations, its exact origin is ob- 
scure. The earliest known copy is to be found, not on 
a papyrus roll, but upon the walls of the chamber of the 
pyramid at Saqqara ne^r Cairo. The discovery of this 
particular recension of " The Book of the Dead " was 
made by Lepsius. Its date is 3333 b. c. No one supposes, 
however, that this date marks the time of the origin of 
" The Book of the Dead." On the contrary, it is held 
by competent authority that the earliest chapters, essen- 
tially unmodified, had been in existence at least a thou- 
sand years before this, and quite possibly for a much 
longer time. Numerous copies of this work in whole or 
in part have been preserved either on the walls of temples, 
on papyrus rolls, or upon the cases of mummies. These 
copies are of various epochs, from the fourth millennium 
b. c, as just mentioned, to the late Roman period, about 
the fourth century a. d. 

Throughout this period of about four thousand years 
the essential character of the book remained unchanged. 
It is true that no two copies that have been preserved 
are exactly identical in all their parts. There are various 
omissions and repetitions that seem to indicate that the 
book was not written by any one person or in any one 
epoch, but that it was originally a set of traditions quite 
possibly handed down for a long period by word of mouth 


before being put into writing. In this regard, as in many 
others, this sacred book of the Egyptians is closely com- 
parable to the sacred books of other nations. It differs, 
however, in one important regard from these others in 
that it was never authoritatively pronounced upon and 
crystallised into a fixed, unalterable shape. From first 
to last, apparently, the individual scribe was at liberty 
to omit such portions as he chose, and even to modify 
somewhat the exact form of expression in making a copy 
of the sacred book. Even in this regard, however, the 
anomaly is not so great as might at first sight appear, 
for it must be recalled that even the sacred books of the 
Hebrews were not given final and authoritative shape 
until a period almost exactly coeval with that in which 
the Egyptian " Book of the Dead " ceased to be used 
at all. 

A peculiar feature of " The Book of the Dead," and 
one that gives it still greater interest, is the fact that 
from an early day it was the custom to illustrate it with 
graphic pictures in colour. In fact, taken as a whole, 
" The Book of the Dead " gives a very fair delineation 
of the progress of Egyptian art from the fourth millen- 
nium b. c. to its climax in the eighteenth dynasty, and 
throughout the period of its decline; and this applies 
not merely to the pictures proper, but to the forms of 
the hieroglyphic letters themselves, for it requires but 
the most cursory inspection to show that these give op- 
portunity for no small artistic skill. 

As to the ideas preserved in " The Book of the Dead," 
it is sufficient here to note that they deal largely with the 



condition of the human being after death, implying in the 
most explicit way a firm and unwavering belief in the 
immortality of the soul. The Egyptian believed most 
fully that by his works a man would be known and judged 
after death. His religion was essentially a religion of 
deeds, and the code of morals, according to which these 
deeds were adjudged, has been said by Doctor Budge, 
the famous translator of " The Book of the Dead," to be 
" the grandest and most comprehensive of those now 7 
known to have existed among the nations of antiquity." 

• . -j. - - ■ 

i' .-Vv;.>i»r-«.-'-.-J— o 




Mariette, Wilkinson, Bunsen, Brugsch, and Ebers : Erman's speech on Egypt- 
ology : The Egypt Exploration Fund : Maspero's investigations : The Temple 
of Bubastis : Ancient record of " Israel " : American interest in Egyptology. 

CCOMPANYINGr Napoleon's army of inva- 
sion in Egypt was a band of savants rep- 
resentative of every art and science, through 
whom the conqueror hoped to make known 
the topography and antiquities of Egypt to the Euro- 
pean world. The result of their researches was the 
famous work called " Description de l'Egypte," pub- 
lished under the direction of the French Academy 
in twenty-four volumes of text, and twelve volumes 
of plates. Through this magnificent production the 
Western world received its first initiation into the 



mysteries of the wonderful civilisation which had flour- 
ished so many centuries ago, on the banks of the Nile. 
Egypt has continued to yield an ever-increasing harvest 
of antiquities, which, owing to the dry climate and the 
sand in which they have been buried, are many of them 
in a marvellous state of preservation. From the correla- 
tion of these discoveries the new science of Egyptology 
has sprung, which has many different branches, relating 
either to hieroglyphics, chronology, or archseology proper. 

The earliest and most helpful of all the discoveries 
was that of the famous Eosetta Stone, found by a French 
artillery officer in 1799, while Napoleon's soldiers were 
excavating preparatory to erecting fortifications at Fort 
St. Julien. The deciphering of its trilingual inscriptions 
was the greatest literary feat of modern times, in which 
Dr. Thomas Young and J. F. Champollion share almost 
equal honours. 

Jean Francois Champollion (1790—1832) is perhaps 
the most famous of the early students of Egyptian hiero- 
glyphs. After writing his " De l'ecriture hieratique des 
anciens egyptiens " at Paris, he produced in 1824 in two 
volumes, his " Precis du systeme hieroglyphique des 
anciens egyptiens," on which his fame largely depends, 
as he was the first to furnish any practical system of 
deciphering the symbolic writing, which was to disclose 
to the waiting wwld Egyptian history, literature, and 
civilisation. Champollion wrote many other works re- 
lating to Egypt, and may truly be considered the pioneer 
of modern Egyptology. While much of his work has 
been superseded by more recent investigations, he was 



so imbued with the scientific spirit that he was enabled 
securely to lay the foundation of all the work which 


The distinguished French savant, Augustus Mariette, 
(1821—1881) began his remarkable excavations in Egypt 


in the vear 1850. The series of discoveries inaugurated 
by him lasted until the year 1880. Mariette made an 
ever-memorable discovery when he unearthed the famous 
Serapeum which had once been the burial-place of the 



sacred bulls of Memphis, which the geographer Strabo 
records had been covered over by the drifting sands of 
the desert even in the days of Augustus. The Serapeum 
was in the neighbourhood of the Sphinx, and, on account 
of its great height, remained in part above the ground, 
and was visible to all passers-by; while everything else 
in the neighbourhood 
except the great Py- 
ramid of Khufui was 
totally buried under 
the sand. Mariette 
worked his way along 
the passage between 
the Great Sphinx and 
the other lesser 
sphinxes which lay 
concealed in the vicin- 
ity, and thus gradu- 
ally came to the opening of the Serapeum. In November, 
1850, his labours were crowned with brilliant success. 

7 r 

He discovered sixty-four tombs of Apis, dating from the 
eighteenth dynasty until as late as the reign of Cleo- 
patra. He likewise found here many figures, images, 
ancient Egyptian ornaments and amulets, and memorial 
stones erected by the devout worshippers of antiquity. 
Fortunately for Egyptian archaeology and history, nearly 
all the monuments here discovered were dated, and were 
thus of the highest value in settling the dates of dynas- 
ties and of the reigns of individual monarchs. Mariette 
afterwards discovered a splendid temple in the same 



place, which he proved to have been the famous shrine 
of the god Sokar-Osiris. He was soon appointed by the 
Egyptian Viceroy, Said Pasha, as director of the new 
museum of antiquities which was then placed at Bulak, 
in the vicinity of Cairo, awaiting the completion of a more 
substantial building at Gizeh. He obtained permission 
to make researches in every part of Egypt; and with 
varying success he excavated in as many as thirty-seven 
localities. In some of the researches undertaken by his 
direction, it is to be feared that many invaluable relics 
of antiquity may have been destroyed through the care- 
lessness of the workmen. This is to be accounted for 
from the fact that Mariette was not always able to be 
present, and the workmen naturally had no personal in- 
terest in preserving every relic and fragment from the 
past. It is also to be regretted that he left no full ac- 
count of the work which he undertook, and for this reason 
much of it had to be gone over again by more modern 

In the Delta excavations were made at Sais, Bubastis, 
and elsewhere. Mariette also discovered the temple of 
Tanis, and many curious human-headed sphinxes, which 
probably belong to the twelfth dynasty, and represent 
its kings. He further continued the labours of Lepsius 
about the necropolis of Memphis and Saqqara. Here 
several hundred tombs were discovered with the many 
inscriptions and figures which these contained. One of 
the most important of these findings— a superb exam- 
ple of Egyptian art— is the statue called by the Arabs 
" The Village Chief," which is now in the museum at 



Bulak. Mariette followed out his researches on the site 
of the sacred city of Abydos. Here he discovered the 
temple of Seti I. of the nineteenth dynasty. On the walls 

6-11, BOTANICAL ; 4, 5, 12, HATHORIC. 

are beautiful sculptures which are exquisite examples of 
Egyptian art, and a chronological table of the Kings of 
Abydos. Here Seti I. and Ramses II., his son, are repre- 
sented as offering homage to their many ancestors seated 
upon thrones inscribed with their names and dates. 


Mariette discovered eight hundred tombs belonging 
for the most part to the Middle Kingdom. At Denderah 
he discovered the famous Ptolemaic temple of Hathor, 
the goddess of love, and his accounts of these discoveries 
make up a large volume. Continuing his labours, he 
excavated much of the site of ancient Thebes and the 
temple of Karnak, and, south of Thebes, the temple of 
Medinet-Habu. At Edfu Mariette found the temple of 
Horus, built during the time of the Ptolemies, whose roof 
formed the foundation of an Arab village. After per- 
severing excavations the whole magnificent plan of the 
temple stood uncovered, with all its columns, inscriptions, 
and carvings nearly intact. 1 

Owing to Mariette 's friendship with the viceroy he 
was able to guard his right to excavate with strict exclu- 
siveness. He was accustomed to allow other scholars 
the right to examine localities where he had been the 
first one to make the researches, but he would not even 
allow the famous Egyptologist, also his great friend, 
Heinrich Brugsch, to make excavations in new places. 
After his death, conditions were somewhat altered, al- 

1 In connection with the architecture of the ancient Egyptian tombs, it is 
interesting to note that there was a development of architectural style in the 
formation of Egyptian columns not dissimilar in its evolution to that which is 
visible in the case of the Greek and Roman columns. 

The earliest Egyptian column appears to have been of a strictly geometrical 
character. This developed into a column resembling the Doric order. A second 
class of Egyptian column was based upon plant forms, probably derived from 
the practice of using reeds in the construction of mud huts. The chief botan- 
ical form which has come down to us is that of the lotus. A more advanced 
type of decoration utilised the goddess Hathor for the support of the superin- 
cumbent weight and has its analogy in the decadent caraytides of late Roman 


though the general directorship of the excavations was 
still given exclusively to Frenchmen. The successors of 
Mariette Bey were Gaston Maspero, E. Grebault, J. de 
Morgan, and Victor Laret. But as time went on, savants 
of other nationalities were allowed to explore, with cer- 
tain reservations. Maspero founded an archaeological 
mission in Cairo in 1880, and placed at its head, in suc- 
cessive order, MM. Lebebure, Grebault, and Bouriant. 
The first of all to translate complete Egyptian books and 
entire inscriptions was Emanuel de Rouge, who exerted 
a great influence upon an illustrious galaxy of French 
savants, who followed more or less closely the example 
set by him. Among these translators we may enumerate 
Mariette, Charles Deveria, Pierret, Maspero himself , and 
Revillout, who has proved himself to be the greatest 
demotic scholar of France. 

England is also represented by scholars of note, among 
whom may be mentioned Dr. Samuel Birch (1813—85). 
He was a scholar of recognised profundity and also of 
remarkable versatility. Ojie of the most important edi- 
torial tasks of Doctor Birch was a series known as "The 
Records of the Past," which consisted of translations 
from Egyptian and Assyrio-Babylonian records. Doctor 
Birch himself contributed several volumes to this series. 
He had also the added distinction of being the first trans- 
lator of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. 

Another English authority was Sir J. Gardner Wil- 
kinson, who wrote several important works on the man- 
ners and customs of the ancient Egyptians. Wilkinson 
was born in 1797 and died in 1875. Whoever would know 


the Egyptian as he was, in manner and custom, should 
peruse the pages of his Egyptian works. His " Popular 
Account of the Ancient Egyptians " has been the chief 
source of information on the subject. 

German scholars have done especially valuable work 
in the translation of texts from the Egyptian temples, and 
in pointing out the relation between these texts and his- 
torical events. Foremost among practical German archae- 
ologists is Karl Richard Lepsius, who was born in 1810 
at Naumburg, Prussia, and died in 1884 at Berlin. In 
his maturer years he had a professorship in Berlin. He 
made excursions to Egypt in an official capacity, and 
familiarised himself at first hand with the monuments 
and records that were his life-study. The letters of Lep- 
sius from Egypt and Nubia were more popular than his 
other writings, and were translated into English and 
widely read. 

Another famous German who was interested in the 
study of Egyptology was Baron Christian Bunsen (1791— 
1867). From early youth he showed the instincts of a 
scholar, but was prevented for many years from leading 
a scholar's life, owing to his active duties in the diplo- 
matic service for Prussia at Rome and London. During 
the years 1848—67, Bunsen brought out the famous work 
called " Egypt's Place in Universal History," which 
Brugsch deemed to have contributed more than any other 
work in popularising the subject of Egyptology. 

Heinrich Carl Brugsch was born at Berlin in 1827 and 
died there in 1894. Like Bunsen, he was a diplomatist 
and a scholar. He entered the service of the Egyptian 


government, and merited the titles of bey and sub- 
sequently of pasha. He became known as one of the 
foremost of Egyptologists, and was the greatest authority 
of his day on Egyptian writing. He wrote a work of 
standard authority, translated into English under the 
title of " The History of Egypt under the Pharaohs." 
The chronology of Egypt now in use is still based upon 
the system created by Brugsch, which, though confess- 
edly artificial, nevertheless is able to meet the difficulties 
of the subject better than any other yet devised. 

Among distinguished German Egyptologists must be 
mentioned Georg Moritz Ebers (1839—96). He is best 
known by his far-famed novels, whose subjects are taken 
from the history of ancient Egypt, perhaps the most 
popular being " An Egyptian Princess." Besides these 
popular novels and a valuable description of Egypt, Ebers 
also made personal explorations in the country, and dis- 
covered at Thebes the great medical papyrus, which is 
called the Papyrus Ebers. This remarkable document, 
to which he devoted so much labour, is our chief source 
of information regarding the practice of medicine as it 
existed, and would alone keep the name of Ebers alive 
among Egyptologists. 

The leading German Egyptologist of to-day is Dr. 
Adolf Erman, who was born at Berlin in 1854. He is 
the worthy successor to Brugsch in the chair of Egypt- 
ology at the University of Berlin, and is director of the 
Berlin Egyptian Museum. His writings have had to do 
mainly with grammatical and literary investigations. 
His editions of the " Romances of Old Egypt " are models 


of scholarly interpretation. They give the original hie- 
ratic text, with translation into Egyptian hieroglyphics, 
into Latin and into German. Doctor Erman has not, 
however, confined his labours to this strictly scholarly 
type of work, but has also written a distinctly popular 
book on the life of the ancient Egyptians, which is the 
most complete work that has appeared since the writings 
of Wilkinson. 

The memorable speech of Erman, delivered on the 
occasion of his election as a member of the Berlin Acad- 
emy, sets forth clearly the progress made in the science 
of Egyptology and present-day tendencies. On that oc- 
casion he said: 

" Some of our older fellow-specialists complain that 
we of the younger generation are depriving Egyptology 
of all its charm, and that, out of a delightful science, 
abounding in startling discoveries, we have made a philo- 
logical study, with strange phonetic laws and a wretched 
syntax. There is doubtless truth in this complaint, but 
it should be urged against the natural growth of the 
science, and not against the personal influence of indi- 
viduals or its development. The state through which 
Egyptology is now passing is one from which no science 
escapes. It is a reaction against the enthusiasm and the 
rapid advance of its early days. 

" I can well understand to outsiders it may seem as 
though we had only retrograded during later years. 
Where are the good old times when every text could be 
translated and understood? Alas! a better comprehen- 
sion of the grammar has revealed on every side difficul- 


ties and impediments of which hitherto nothing had been 
suspected. Moreover, the number of ascertained words 
in the vocabulary is continually diminishing, while the 
host of the unknown increases; for we no longer arrive 
at the meaning by the way of audacious etymologies and 
still more audacious guesses. 

" We have yet to travel for many years on the ardu- 
ous path of empirical research before we can attain to 
an adequate dictionary. There is indeed an exceptional 
reward which beckons us on to the same goal, namely, 
that we shall then be able to assign to Egyptian its place 
among the languages of Western Asia and of Africa. At 
present we do well to let this great question alone. As 
in the linguistic department of Egyptology, so it is in 
every other section of the subject. The Egyptian relig- 
ion seemed intelligently and systematically rounded off 
when each god was held to be the incarnation of some 
power of nature. Now we comprehend that we had better 
reserve our verdict on this matter until we know the facts 
and the history of the religion; and how far we are from 
knowing them is proved to us by every text. The texts 
are full of allusions to the deeds and fortunes of the gods, 
but only a very small number of these allusions are in- 
telligible to us. 

" The time has gone by in which it was thought pos- 
sible to furnish the chronology of Egyptian history, and 
in which that history was supposed to be known, because 
the succession of the most powerful kings had been ascer- 
tained. To us the history of Egypt has become something 
altogether different. It comprises the history of her civ- 


ilisation, her art, and her administration; and we rejoice 
in the prospect that one day it may be possible in that 
land to trace the development of a nation throughout 
five thousand years by means of its own monuments and 
records. But we also know that the realisation of this 
dream must be the work of many generations. 

" The so-called ' demotic ' texts, which lead us out of 
ancient Egypt into the Grseco-Roman period, were de- 
ciphered with the acumen of genius more than half a 
century ago by Heinrich Brugsch, but to-day these also 
appear to us in a new light as being full of unexpected 
difficulties and in apparent disagreement with both the 
older and the later forms of the language. In this im- 
portant department we must not shrink from a revision 
of past work. 

" I will not further illustrate this theme; but the case 
is the same in every branch of Egyptology. In each, the 
day of rapid results is at an end, and the monotonous 
time of special studies has begun. Hence I would beg 
the Academy not to expect sensational discoveries from 
their new associate. I can only offer what labor impro- 
bus brings to light, and that is small discoveries; yet in 
the process of time they will lead us to those very ends 
which seemed so nearly attainable to our predecessors." 

The German school may perhaps be said to have de- 
voted its time especially to labours upon Egyptian gram- 
mar and philology, while the French school is better 
known for its excellent work on the history and archae- 
ology of ancient Egypt. On these topics the leading au- 
thority among all the scholars of to-day is the eminent 


Frenchman, Professor Gaston C. C. Maspero, author of 
the first nine volumes of the present work. He was born 
at Paris, June 24, 1846. He is a member of the French In- 
stitute, and was formerly Professor of Egyptian Archae- 
ology and Ethnology in the College de France, and, more 
recently, Director of the Egyptian Museum at Bulak. 
His writings cover the entire field of Oriental antiquity. 
In this field Maspero has no peer among Egyptologists 
of the present or the past. He possesses an eminent gift 
of style, and his works afford a rare combination of the 
qualities of authority, scientific accuracy, and of popular 

Some extraordinary treasures from tombs were dis- 
covered in the year 1881. At that date Arabs often 
hawked about in the streets what purported to be genuine 
works of antiquity. Many of these were in reality imita- 
tions; but Professor Maspero in this year secured from 
an Arab a funeral papyrus of Phtahhotpu L, and after 
considerable trouble he was able to locate the tomb in 
Thebes from which the treasure had been taken. Brugsch 
now excavated the cave, which was found to be the place 
where a quantity of valuable treasures had been secreted, 
probably at the time of the sacking of Thebes by the As- 
syrians. Six thousand objects were secured, and they 
included twenty-nine mummies of kings, queens, princes, 
and high priests, and five papyri, among which was the 
funeral papyrus of Queen Makeru of the twentieth 
dynasty. The mummy-cases had been opened by the 
Arabs, who had taken out the mummies and in some in- 
stances replaced the wrong ones. Many mummies of the 


eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties had been removed to 
this cave probably for safety, on account of its secrecy. 
Out of the twenty-nine mummies found here, seven were 
of kings, nine of queens and princesses, and several more 
of persons of distinction. The place of concealment was 
situated at a turn of a cliff southwest of the village of 

The explorers managed successfully to identify King 
Raskamen of the seventeenth dynasty, King Ahmosis I., 
founder of the eighteenth dynasty, and his queen Ahmo- 
sis-Nofritari, also Queen Arhotep and Princess Set Am- 
nion, and the king's daughters, and his son Prince Sa Am- 
nion. They also found the mummies of Thutmosis I., 
Thutmosis II. and of Thutmosis III. (Thutmosis the 
Great), together with Ramses I., Seti I., Ramses XII., 
King Phtahhotpu II., and noted queens and princesses. 

In the year 1883 the Egypt Exploration Fund was 
founded for the purpose of accurate historical investi- 
gation in Egypt. The first work undertaken was on a 
mound called the Tel-el-Mashuta, in the Wadi-et-Tumi- 
lat. This place was discovered to be the site of the ancient 
Pithom, a treasure-city supposed to have been built by 
the Israelites for Pharaoh. In the Greek and Roman 
period the same place had been called Heroopolis. M. 
Naville also discovered Succoth, the first camping-ground 
of the Israelites while fleeing from their oppressor, and 
an inscription with the word " Pikeheret," which he 
judged to be the Pihahiroth of the Book of Exodus. The 
next season the site of Zoan of the Bible was explored, 
a village now termed San. 


Professor W. M. Flinders Petrie started work where 
a rim of red granite stood up upon one of the many- 
mounds in the neighbourhood. The site of the ancient 
city had been here, and the granite rim was on the site 
of a temple. The latter had two enclosure walls, one of 
which had been built of sun-dried bricks, and was of ex- 
treme antiquity; the other was built of bricks of eight 
times the size and weight of modern bricks, and the wall 
was of very great strength. Dwelling-houses had been 
built in the locality, and coins and potsherds discovered. 
These remains Professor Petrie found to belong to peri- 
ods between the sixth and twenty-sixth dynasties. Stones 
were found in the vicinity with the cartouche of King 
Papi from one of the earliest dynasties. There were also 
red granite statues of Ahmenemhait I., and a black gran- 
ite statue of Kind Usirtasen I. and of King Ahmenemhait 
II., and a torso of King Usirtasen II. was found cut from 
yellow-stained stone, together with a vast number of 
relics of other monarchs. Parts of a giant statue of King 
Ramses II. were discovered Tyhich must have been ninety- 
eight feet in height before it was broken, the great toe 
alone measuring eighteen inches across, and the weight 
of the statue estimated to be about 1,200 tons. In addi- 
tion to these relics of ancient monarchs, a large number 
of antiquities were discovered, with remains of objects 
for domestic use in ancient Egyptian society. 

The explorations conducted at Tanis during 1883—84 
brought to light objects mainly of the Ptolemaic period, 
because a lower level had not at that period been reached, 
but here many invaluable relics of Ptolemaic arts were 


unearthed. The results of researches were published at 
this date bearing upon the Great Pyramid. Accurate 
measurements had been undertaken by Professor Petrie, 
who was able to prove that during one epoch systematic 
but unavailing efforts had been made to destroy these 
great structures. r 

Professor Maspero discovered among the hills of 
Thebes an important tomb of the eleventh dynasty, which 
threw light upon obscure portions of Egyptian history, 
and contained texts of the " Book of the Dead." The fol- 
lowing year he discovered the necropolis of Khemnis in 
the neighbourhood of Kekhrneen, a provincial town in 
Upper Egypt built on the site of the ancient Panopolis. 
The remains were all in a state of perfect preservation. 

In July, 1884, Professor Maspero secured permission 
from the Egyptian government to buy from the natives 
the property which they held on the site of the Great 
Temple at Luxor, and to prevent any further work of 
destruction. These orders, however, were not carried 
out till early in 1885, when Maspero began excavating 
with one hundred and fifty workmen. He first unearthed 
the sanctuary of Amenhothes III., with its massive roof. 
He brought to light the great central colonnade, and dis- 
covered a portico of Ramses II., and many colossi, which 
were either still erect or else had fallen on the ground. 
The columns of Amenhothes III. were next explored, 
which were found to be among the most beautiful of all 
specimens of Egyptian architecture. It is believed that 
Luxor will prove to have been a locality of almost as 
great a beauty as Karnak. 



During the season of 1884—85 Professor Petrie 
started excavations at the modern Nehireh, which he 
learned was the site of the ancient Naucratis. 1 Here 
many Greek inscriptions were found. This city was one 
of great importance and a commercial mart during the 

reign of Ahmosis, 
although in the 
time of the Em- 
peror Commodus 
it had wholly dis- 
appeared. Two 
temples of Apollo 
were discovered, 
one of which was 
built from lime- 
stone in the sev- 
enth century b. c. ; 
and the other was 
of white marble, beauti- 
fully decorated, and dating 
from the fifth century. 

Magnificent libation 

bowls were also discovered 

here, some of which had 

been dedicated to Hera, 

others to Zeus, and others 

ruins at luxor. to Aphrodite. The lines of 

the ancient streets were traced, and a storehouse or 

granary of the ancient Egyptians was unearthed, also 

1 The investigations on this site were continued in the season of 1888-89. 


many Greek coins. Besides these were discovered vo- 
tive deposits, cups of porcelain, alabaster jugs, limestone 
mortars; and trowels, chisels, knives, and hoes. 

Much light was thrown by these discoveries on the 
progress of the ceramic arts, and many links uniting 
the Greek pottery with the Egyptian pottery were here 
for the first time traced. It was learned that the Greeks 
were the pupils of the Egyptians, but that they idealised 
the work of their masters and brought into it freer con- 
ceptions of beauty and of proportion. 

M. Naville was engaged about this time in contro- 
versies as to the true site of this ancient Pithom. He 
also made, in 1886, a search for the site of Goshen. He 
believed he had identified this when he discovered at 
Saft an inscription dedicated to the gods of Kes, which 
Naville identified with Kesem, the name used in the 
Septuagint for Goshen. Others, however, disagree, and 
locate the site of Goshen at a place called Pakoos, twelve 
miles north of Tel-el-Kebir. 

The explorations of 1885—86 started under the direc- 
tion of Professor W. M. Flinders Petrie, Mr. F. Llew- 
ellen Griffith, and Mr. Ernest A. Gardiner. Gardiner set 
out in the direction of Naucratis, and Petrie and Griffith 
proceeded to explore the site of Tanis. The mound at 
which they worked, like many other localities of modern 
and ancient Egypt, has been known by a variety of 
names. It is called Tel Farum, or the Mound of the 
Pharaoh ; Tel Bedawi, the Mound of the Bedouins ; and 
Tel Nebesheh, after the name of the village upon this 
site. There are remains here of an ancient cemetery 


and of two ancient towns and a temple. The cemetery 
was found to be unlike those of Memphis, Thebes, or 
Abydos. It contained many small chambers and groups 
of chambers irregularly placed about a sandy plain. 
These were built mostly of brick, but there were other 
and larger ones built of limestone. A black granite altar 
of the reign of Ahmenemhait II. was discovered, and 
thrones of royal statues of the twelfth dynasty. Here 
were also found a statue of Harpocrates, a portion of a 
statue of Phtah, with an inscription of Ramses II., a 
sphinx and tombs of the twentieth century b. c, contain- 
ing many small relics of antiquity. 

Professor Petrie w^ent on from here to the site of 
Tell Def enneh, the Tahpanhes of the Bible, called Taphne 
in the version of the Septuagint. This proved to be the 
remains of the earliest Greek settlement in Egypt, and 
contains no remains from a later period than the tw^enty- 
sixth dynasty. It was here that Psammeticus I. estab- 
lished a colony of the Carian and Ionian mercenaries, 
by whose aid this monarch had won the throne; and this 
Greek city had been built as one out of three fortresses 
to prevent the incursions of the Arabians and Syrians. 
The city of Tahpanhes or Taphne is referred to in the 
book of Jeremiah. 

There were found on this site the remains of a vast 
pile of brick buildings, w^hich could be seen in outline 
from a great distance across the plains. The Arabs 
called this " El Kasr el Bin el Yahudi," that is, " The 
Castle of the Jew's Daughter." This was found to have 
been a fort, and it contained a stele with a record of the 


garrison which had been stationed there; pieces of an- 
cient armour and arms were also found in the neighbour- 
hood. There was likewis.e a royal hunting-box on this 
site, and all the principal parts of the settlement were 
found to have been surrounded by a wall fifty feet thick, 
which enclosed an area of three thousand feet in length 
and one thousand in breadth. The gate on the north 
opened towards the Pelusiac canal, and the south looked 
out upon the ancient military road which led up from 
Egypt to Syria. Pottery, bronze-work, some exquisitely 
wrought scale armour, very light but overlapping six 
times, were unearthed within this enclosure. There were 
also Greek vases and other Greek remains, dating in the 
earlier part of the reign of Ahmosis, who had subse- 
quently sent the Greeks away, and prevented them from 
trading in Egypt. Since this Greek colony came to an end 
in the year 570 b. c, and as the locality was no longer 
frequented by Greek soldiers or merchants, it is possible 
to set an exact term to the period of Greek art which 
these antiquities represent. The Greek pottery here is 
so unlike that of Naucratis and of other places that it 
seems to be well ascertained that it must have been all 
manufactured at Defenneh itself. Outside the buildings 
of the Kasr, Petrie discovered a large sun-baked pave- 
ment resting upon the sands, and this discovery was of 
value in explaining a certain passage of the forty-third 
chapter of Jeremiah, translated from the Revised Ver- 
sion as follows: " Then came the word of the Lord to 
Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, saying, Take great stones in 
thine hand, and hide them in the mortar of the brick- 


work which is at the entry of Pharaoh's house in Tah- 
panhes in the sight of the men of Judah [i. e. Johannan 
and the captains who had gone to Egypt] ; and say unto 
them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: 
Behold I will send and take Nebuchadrezzar the King 
of Babylon, my servant, and will set his throne upon 
these stones that I have hid; and he shall spread his 
royal pavilion over them. And he shall come and smite 
the land of Egypt." An alternate reading for " brick- 
work " is the pavement or square. The pavement which 
Jeremiah described was evidently the one which Petrie 
discovered, though he was not able at the time to dis- 
cover the stones which, according to Jeremiah, had been 
inserted in the mortar. Outside the camp wall was 
further discovered the remains of a large settlement, 
strewn on all sides with bits of pottery and jewelry and 
a great number of weights. 

During this season Maspero carried on researches at 
Luxor, and proceeded to excavate in the neighbourhood 
of the Great Sphinx. Theye are many Egyptian pictures 
which represent the Sphinx in its entirety down to the 
paws, but the lower parts had for centuries been buried 
in the accumulations of sand which had covered up all 
of the ancient site. It had previously been supposed 
that the Sphinx had been hewn out of a solid mass of 
rock resembling an immense boulder. Professor Mas- 
pero 's excavations enabled him not only to verify the 
accuracy of the old Egyptian paintings of the Sphinx, 
but also to show that a vast amphitheatre had been hewn 
out of the rock round the Sphinx, which was not there- 


fore sculptured from a projecting rock. Since the upper 
rim of this basin was about on the same level with the 
head of the figure, it became evident that the ancient 
sculptors had cut the rock away on all sides, and had 
subsequently left the Sphinx isolated, as it is at the pres- 
ent day. Maspero dug down during this season to a 
depth of thirty yards in the vicinity. 

Professor Maspero 's last official act as Director-Gen- 
eral of the Excavations and Antiquities of Egypt was 
his examination of the mummy of Ramses II. found in 
1884, in the presence of the khedive and other high dig- 
nitaries. The mummy of this great conqueror was well 
preserved, revealing a giant frame and a face expressive 
of sovereign majesty, indomitable will, and the pride of 
the Egyptian king of kings. He then unbandaged the 
mummy of Nofritari, wife of King Ahmosis I. of the 
eighteenth dynasty, beside which, in the same sarcopha- 
gus, had been discovered the mummy of Ramses III. 
The physiognomy of this monarch is more refined 
and intellectual than that of his warlike predecessor; 
nor was his frame built upon the same colossal plan. 
The height of the body was less, and the shoulders not 
so wide. In the same season Maspero also discovered an 
ancient Egyptian romance inscribed on limestone near 
the tomb of Sinuhit at Thebes. A fragment on papyrus 
had been preserved at the Berlin Museum, but the whole 
romance was now decipherable. 

Professor Maspero resigned his office of directorship 
on June 5, 1886, and was succeeded in the superin- 
tendency of excavations and Egyptian archaeology by 



M. Eugene Grebault. In the same month Grebault 
started upon the work of unbandaging the mummy of 
the Theban King Sekenenra Ta-aken, of the eighteenth 
dynasty. It was under this monarch that a revolt against 
the Hyksos, or Shepherd Kings, had originated, in the 
course of which the Asiatics were expelled from Egypt. 
The history of this king has always been considered 
legendary, but from the signs of wounds present in the 
mummy, it is certain that he had died in battle. 1 In the 
same season the mummy of Seti I. was unbandaged, and 
also that of an anonymous prince. 

The next season the work of clearing away the sand 
from around the Great Sphinx was vigorously prosecuted 
by Grebault. In the beginning of the year 1887, the 
chest, the paws, the altar, and plateau were all made 
visible. Flights of steps were unearthed, and finally 
accurate measurements were taken of the great figures. 
The height from the lowest of the steps was found to 
be one hundred feet, and the space between the paws 
was found to be thirty-five feet long and ten feet wide. 
Here there was formerly an altar; and a stele of 
Thutmosis IV. was discovered, recording a dream in 
which he was ordered to clear away the sand that even 
then was gathering round the site of the Sphinx. 

M. Naville and Mr. F. Llewellen Griffiths explored 
during the season of 1886—87 the mound of Tel-el- Yehu- 
dieh (the mound of the Jew). The site is probably that 
on which was once built the city that Ptolemy Philadel- 
phus allowed the Jews to construct. The remains of a 

1 See Volume IV., page 110. 


statue of the cat-headed goddess Bast, to which there 
is a reference in Josephus, was also found here. The 
discovery of tablets of definitely Jewish origin make 
it clear that the modern name had been given to the place 
for some reason connected with the colony thus proved 
to have once been settled there. 

Naville also made researches at Tel Basta, the site 
of the Bubastis of the Greeks, the Pi Beseth of the Bible, 
and the Pi Bast of the Egyptians, which was formerly 
the centre of worship of the goddess Pasht and her sacred 
animal, the cat. The whole plan of the ancient temple 
was soon disclosed, the general outline of which bears 
much resemblance to that of the great Temple of San. 
In the division which Naville called the Festival Hall 
were numerous black and red statues inscribed with the 
name of Ramses IL, but many of which were probably 
not really erected by this monarch. Here there was also 
found a standing statue of the Governor of Ethiopia, 
a priest and priestess of the twenty-sixth dynasty, and 
many other monuments of the greatest historical inter- 
est. The hall itself was built of red granite. 

Another hall, which Naville called the " Hypostyle 
Hall," possessed a colonnade of such beauty that it would 
seem to justify the statement of Herodotus, that the tem- 
ple of Bubastis was one of the finest in Egypt. The col- 
umns were either splendid red granite monoliths, with 
lotus-bud or palm-leaf capitals; or, a head of Hathor 
from which fell two long locks. These columns probably 
belonged to the twelfth dynasty. In what Naville called 
the " Ptolemaic Hall " occurs the name Nephthorheb or 



Nectanebo I. of the thirtieth dynasty. The relics of this 
remarkable temple thus cover a period from the sixth 
to the thirtieth dynasties, some 3,200 years. During this 
season Professor Petrie made important discoveries in 
relation to the obscure Hyksos dominion in Egypt. 
Many representations of these Shepherd Kings were 
found, and, from their physiognomy, it was judged that 
they were not Semites, but rather Mongols or Tatars, 
who probably came from the same part of Asia as the 
Mongul hordes of Genghis Khan. 

Early in 1888 excavations were resumed on the site 
of the great temple of Bubastis by M. Edouard Naville, 
Mr. F. LI. Griffiths, and the Count d'Hulst. The inves- 
tigation again yielded the usual crop of antiquities that 
was now always expected from the exploration of the 
famous sites. A third hall was discovered, which had 
been built in the time of Osorkon I., of red granite in- 
laid with sculptured slabs. There were also many other 
monuments and remains of the monarchs, together with 
much valuable evidence delating to the rule of the 

Petrie brought to London many beautiful Ptolemaic 
and Roman portraits, which he had discovered in a vast 
cemetery near the pyramid which bears the name of King 
Ahmenemhait III. The portraits are in an excellent state 
of preservation, and are invaluable as illustrative of the 
features, manners, and customs of the Greek and Roman 
periods in Egyptian history. 

His researches in the neighbourhood of the Fayum 
at this time commenced to bear fruit; and many ques- 


tions were answered regarding the ancient Lake Moeris. 
It was in this season also that the ever memorable exca- 
vations conducted at Tel-el-Amarna were first begun. 
This place is situated in Upper Egypt on the site of the 
capital, which had been built by Ahmenhotpu IV. Here 
were discovered many clay tablets in cuneiform char- 
acters containing documents in the Babylonian language. 
These were found in the tomb of a royal scribe. The list 
contained a quantity of correspondence from the kings 
or rulers of Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Baby- 
lonia to Ahmenhotpu III. and IV. There were Egyptian 
garrisons in those days in Palestine, and they were ac- 
customed to keep their royal masters well informed as to 
what was going on in the country. Among other cities 
mentioned are Byblos, Smyrna, Appo or Acre, Megiddo, 
and Ashpelon. During this season many relics of early 
Christian art were discovered. In many cases 1 a pagan 
picture had been in part painted over, and thus given 
a Christian significance. Two figures of Isis suckling 
Horus are, with slight alterations, made to represent 
the Virgin and the Child. A bas-relief of St. George 
slaying the dragon was discovered, which closely resem- 
bled that of Horus slaying Set. 

During the following season of 1888—89, Petrie re- 
sumed his excavations round the pyramid of Hawara, 
which was supposed to be the site of the famous Laby- 
rinth. Work had been begun here in the season previous, 
and it was now to be crowned with great success. All 
the underground passages and secret chambers under 

1 See Volume XL, page 248. 


the pyramid were examined, and the inscriptions dis- 
covered of King Ahmenemhait III. prove that this was 
without doubt the pyramid of the monarch of that name. 
It was discovered that the Romans had broken into the 
recesses of these secret chambers, and many broken 
Roman amphorw were unearthed. Later Professor Pe- 
trie examined the pyramid of Illahun, which stands at 
the gate of the Fayum. It is probable that this was on 
the site of the ancient locks which regulated the flow 
of the Nile into Lake Moeris. Many of the antiquities 
here discovered bore inscriptions of King Usirtasen II., 
and, in the same locality, was discovered the site of an 
early Christian cemetery dating from the fifth or sixth 
centuries. A few miles from Illahun, the same inde- 
fatigable explorer discovered the remains of another 
town belonging to the eighteenth or nineteenth dynasties. 
A wall once surrounded the town, and beyond the wall 
was a necropolis. The place is now called Tell Gurah, 
and the relics give inscriptions of Thutmosis III. or Tu- 
tankhamon and of Horemheb. 

In the same season of 1888—89, Miss Amelia B. Ed- 
wards, who had been sent out by the Egypt Exploration 
Fund, brought to a conclusion the excavations which had 
been carried on for several seasons at Bubastis. It was 
discovered that the temple itself dated back to the reign 
of the famous Khufui (Kheops), the builder of the great 
Pyramid, since an inscription with his name on it was 
discovered, together with one inscribed to King Khafri 
(Chephren). The monuments discovered on this site 
were, for the most part, shipped to Europe and America. 



The city of Boston, Mass., received a colossal Hathor- 
liead capital of red granite, part of a colossal figure 
of a king, an immense lotus-bud capital from the Hypo- 
style Hall of the temple, a bas-relief in red granite from 
the Hall of Osorken II., 
and two bas-reliefs of 
limestone from the tem- 
ple of Hathor, taken from 
the ancient Termuther. 
Specimens recovered 
from here date from the 
fourth to the twenty-sec- 
ond dynasties, and the 
relics from Termuther 
are from the last period 
of the Ptolemies. 

Early in 1891, Pro- 
fessor Petrie made his 
exhaustive examination 
of the pyramid of Me- 
dum, which he declared THE LOTUS FLOWER < NYMPH * A L0TUS > 
to be the earliest of all dated Egyptian pyramids, and 
probably the oldest dated building in the world. Its 
builder was Snofrui of the third dynasty; and, joined 
with it, and in a perfect state of preservation, was the 
pyramid temple built at the same period. Prom forty 
to sixty feet of rubbish had accumulated around the 
buildings, and had to be removed. The front of the tem- 
ple was thirty feet wide and nine feet high, and a door 
was discovered at the south end. A wide doorway leads 


to the open court built on the side of the pyramid. In 
the centre of the court stands the altar of offerings, where 
there is also an inscribed obelisk thirteen feet high. The 
walls of the temple are all marked with graffiti of visi- 
tors w r ho belonged to the twelfth and eighteenth dynas- 
ties. A statuette was found dedicated to the gods of the 
town by a woman. 

The tombs at this place had been rifled in ancient 
times, but many skeletons of people, who had been buried 
in a crouching attitude, were discovered, and Petrie con- 
sidered that these belonged to a different race from that 
which was accustomed to bury the dead recumbent. A 
quantity of pottery was also unearthed, dating from the 
fourth century. The method by which the plan of a 
pyramid was laid out by the ancient Egyptians was dis- 
covered in this excavation, and the designs show con- 
siderable mechanical ingenuity in their execution, and 
afford a perfect system for maintaining the symmetry 
of the building itself, no matter how uneven the ground 
on which it was to be built. 

In the spring of 1891, M. Naville started an excava- 
tion on the site of the ancient Heracleopolis Magna at a 
place now named Hanassieh. He found here many Ro- 
man and Koptic remains, and further discovered the 
vestibule of an ancient Egyptian temple. There were 
six columns, on which Ramses II. was represented as 
offering gifts. The name of Menephtah was also noticed, 
and the architraves above the columns were seen to be 
cut with cartouches of Usirtasen II. of the twelfth dv- 
nasty. This temple w r as probably one of those to the 


service of which Ramses II. donated some slaves, as is 
described in one of the papyri of the Harris collection. 

A stone was discovered by Mr. Wilborn at Luxor, 
recording a period of seven years' successive failure of 
the Nile to overflow, and the efforts made by a certain 
sorcerer named Chit Net to remove the calamity. 

During the season of 1895, Professor Petrie and Mr. 
Quibell discovered homes belonging to paleolithic man 
on a plateau four thousand feet above the Nile. Thirty 
miles south of Thebes, there are many large and beauti- 
fully worked flints. Their great antiquity is proved by 
the fact that they are deeply stained, whereas, in the 
same locality, there are other flints of an age of five thou- 
sand years, which show no traces of stains. 

Close by this site was discovered the abundant re- 
mains of a hitherto unknown race. This race has noth- 
ing in common with the true Egyptians, although their 
relics are invariably found with those of the Egyptians 
of the fourth, twelfth, eighteenth, and nineteenth dy- 
nasties. Petrie declares these men to have been tall and 
powerful, with strong features, a hooked nose, a long, 
pointed beard, and brown, wavy hair. They were not 
related to the negroes, but rather to the Amorites or 
Libyans. The bodies in these tombs are not mummified, 
but are contracted, though laid in an opposite direction 
from those discovered at Medum. The graves are open, 
square pits, roofed over with beams of wood. This an- 
cient race used forked hunting-lances for chasing the 
gazelle, and their beautiful flints were found to be like 
those belonging to an excellent collection already exist- 


ing in the Ashmolean Museum of Oxford. They also 
made an abundant use of copper for adzes, harpoons for 
spearing fish, and needles for sewing garments. They 
used pottery abundantly, and its variety is remarkable 
no less than the quality, which, unlike the Egyptian, was 
all hand-made and never fashioned by aid of the wheel. 
They entered Egypt about 3,000 b. c, and were probably 
of the white Libyan race, and possibly may have 
been the foreigners who overthrew the old Egyptian 

The discovery of the name of " Israel " in an Egyp- 
tian inscription was in a sense, perhaps, the most re- 
markable event of the year 1895 in archaeology. It was 
first laid before the public by Professor Petrie, 1 and was 
treated by Spiegelberg 2 in a communication to the Ber- 
lin Academy, and by Steindorff. 3 The name occurs in 
an inscription dated in the fifth year of Merenptah, the 
successor of Ramses II., and often supposed to be the 
Pharaoh of the Exodus. It is there written with the 
determinative of a people, not of a city or country, and 
reads in our conventional transliteration Ysiraar, but in 
reality agrees very closely to the Hebrew ^>nw> the last 
portion dar being recognised as the equivalent of el in 
several words. Merenptah states that " Israel is fekt (?) 
without seed (grain or offspring), Syria (Kharu) has 
become widows (Kharut) of or to Egypt." We can form 
no conclusion from these statements as to the relation 

1 Contemporary Review, May 1896. 

2 Sitzberichte, xxv., p. 593. 

8 Zeitschrift fiir deutsch. Alt. test. Wiss., 1896, p. 330. 


in which the Israelites stood to Pharaoh and to Egypt, 
except that they are represented as having been power- 
less. It is pretty clear, however, from the context that 
they were then in Palestine, or at least in Syria. Stein- 
dorff suggests that they may have entered Syria from 
Chaldaea during the disturbed times in Egypt at the end 
of the eighteenth dynasty, and connects them with the 
movements of the Khabiri (Hebrews?) mentioned in the 
Tel-el- Amarna tablets. On the other hand, it is of course 
possible, as Professor Petrie points out, that this refer- 


ence to the Israelites may have some connection with 
the Exodus itself. M. Clermont Ganneau thinks that the 
localities mentioned are all in Southern Palestine. 1 

M. Edouard Naville found at Thebes many remains of 
the Punt sculptures. The Puntites appear with their 
aquiline features, their pointed beards, and their long 
hair; negroes also of black and brown varieties are rep- 
resented adjoining the Puntites proper. There are wick- 
erwork huts, and a figure of a large white dog with its 
ears hanging down. Long-billed birds also appear flying 
about in the trees. Their nests have been forsaken and 
robbed, and the men are represented as gathering incense 

1 Revue Arch6ologique, xxix., p. 127. 


from the trees. Altogether, much invaluable informa- 
tion has been gathered concerning the famous people 
who lived in the Land of Punt, and with whom for a 
long period the Egyptians held intercommunication. 
Other discoveries were made near the great temple of 
Karnak, and the buildings of Medinet-Habu were cleared 
of rubbish in order to show their true proportions. 

From its foundation, the Egypt Exploration Fund 
has received large pecuniary support from the United 
States, chiefly through the enthusiasm and energy of 
Dr. W. C. Winslow, of Boston. In 1880 Doctor Winslow, 
who had been five months in Egypt, returned to Amer- 
ica deeply impressed with the importance of scientific 
research in Egypt, and, upon hearing of the Exploration 
Fund in London, he wrote a letter expressive of his 
interest and sympathy to the president, Sir Erasmus 
Wilson, which brought a reply not only from him, but 
also from the secretary, Miss Edwards, expatiating upon 
the purpose and needs of the society, and outlining 
optimistically its ultimate accomplishments. 

Doctor Winslow was elected honorary treasurer of 
the Fund for the United States for the year 1883— 84. 1 
Many prominent residents became interested and added 

x The American subscriptions from the year 1883 rapidly increased, and by 
the year 1895 had figured up to $75,800, and the total number of letters 
and articles written during that time had grown to 2,467. The organisation 
in America consists of a central office at Boston, together with independent 
local societies, such as have already been formed in New York, Philadelphia, 
and Chicago. The Boston office, and any independent local society, which sub- 
scribes not less than $750 a year, is entitled to nominate a member of the 
Committee. At the end of July, 1884, Doctor Winslow had forwarded to London 


their names to its membership, and have given it their 
effort and their hearty financial support. Among the 
distinguished American members have been J. R. Lowell, 
G. W. Curtis, Charles Dudley Warner, and among the 
chief Canadian members are Doctor Bourinot and Dr. 
J. William Dawson. 

The Fund has always preserved amicable relations 
with the Government Department of Antiquities in 
Egypt. Excavations are conducted by skilled explorers, 
and the results published promptly with due regard to 
scientific accuracy and pictorial embellishment. The an- 
tiquities found are either deposited in the National Mu- 
seum at Cairo, or distributed among public museums in 
the United Kingdom and the United States of America 
and Canada, in strict proportion to the contribution 
of each locality. Exhibitions are usually held in London 
in July of each year. 

The Fund now consists of three departments, for each 
of which separate accounts are kept. These depart- 
ments are: 1. The Exploration Fund, for conducting 
archeological research generally, by means of system- 
atic excavations. 2. The Archaeological Survey, for pre- 
serving an accurate pictorial record of monuments 
already excavated but liable to destruction. 3. The 
Grseco-Roman Branch, for the discovery of the remains 
of classical antiquity and early Christianity. 

The first work of the Graeco-Roman Branch was to 
publish the recently discovered Oxyrrhynchos papyri, of 
which two volumes, containing many important classical 
and theological texts, were issued in 1898 and 1899 and 


1900. Among its contents are parts of two odes of Pin- 
dar, of which one begins with a description of the poet's 
relation to Xenocritus, the inventor of the Locrian mode 
of music; a considerable piece of the " Kolax " of Me- 
nander, one of the two plays upon which the " Eunu- 
chus " of Terence was based; part of a rhetorical treatise 
in Doric dialect, which is undoubtedly a work of the 
Pythagorean school; the conclusion of the eighteenth 
Keo-To? of Julius Africanus, dealing with a question of 
Homeric criticism; and part of a biography of Alcibi- 
ades. A new light is thrown upon some of the less-known 
departments of Greek literature by a well-preserved 
papyrus, which contains on one side a prose mime in two 
scenes, a work of the school of Sophron, having points 
of resemblance to the fifth mime of Herondas; while on 
the other side is an amusing farce, partly in prose, partly 
in verse. The scene is laid on the shores of the Indian 
Ocean, and the plot turns upon the rescue of a Greek 
maiden from the hands of barbarians, who speak a non- 
Greek language with elements apparently derived from 
Prakrit. 1 

The new Homeric fragments include one of Iliad 
VL, with critical signs and interesting textual notes. 
Sappho, Euripides (" Andromache," Archelaus," and 
" Medea "), Antiphanes, Thucydides, Plato (" Gorgias " 
and " Republic "), JEschines, Demosthenes, and Xeno- 
phon are also represented. Among the theological texts 

1 This is a peculiarly interesting suggestion in view of the fact that there is 
in the British Museum an unpublished fragment which for some time was con- 
sidered by Doctor Budge to be a species of Egyptian stenography, but which 
has also been suggested to be in Pehlevi characters. 


are fragments of the lost Greek original of the " Apoc- 
alypse of Baruch " and of the missing Greek conclusion 
of the " Shepherd " of Hermas. 

In the winter of 1898—99, Doctors Grenfell and Hunt 
conducted excavations for the Graeco-Roman Branch in 
the Payum. In 1899—1900, they excavated at Tebtunis, 
in the Fayum, on behalf of the University of California; 
and by an arrangement between that university and the 
Egypt Exploration Fund an important section of the 
Tebtunis papyri, consisting of second-century b. c. papyri 
from crocodile mummies, was issued jointly by the two 
bodies, forming the annual volumes of the Graeco-Roman 
Branch for 1900-01 and 1901-02. Since 1900 Doctors 
Grenfell and Hunt have excavated each winter on be- 
half of the Graeco-Roman Branch,— in 1900—01 in the 
Payum, and in 1901—02 both there and at Hibeh, with 
the result that a very large collection of Ptolemaic papyri 
was obtained. In the winter of 1902—03, after finishing 
their work at Hibeh, they returned to Oxyrrhynchos. 
Here was found a third-century fragment of a collection 
of sayings of Jesus, similar in style to the so-called 
" Logia " discovered at Oxyrrhynchos in 1897. As in 
that papyrus, the separate sayings are introduced by the 
words " Jesus saith," and are for the most part unre- 
corded elsewhere, though some which are found in the 
Gospels {e.g. " The Kingdom of God is within you " 
and " Many that are first shall be last, and the last shall 
be first ") occur here in different surroundings. Six say- 
ings are preserved, unfortunately in an imperfect con- 
dition. But the new " Logia " papyrus supplies more 


evidence concerning its origin than was the case with 
its predecessor, for it contains an introductory paragraph 
stating that what follows consisted of " the words which 
Jesus, the Living Lord, spake " to two of His disciples; 
and, moreover, one of the uncanonical sayings is already 
extant in part, the conclusion of it, " He that wonders 
shall reign and he that reigns shall rest/' being quoted 
by Clement of Alexandria from the Gospel according to 
the Hebrews. It is, indeed, possible that this Gospel was 
the source from which all this second series of " Logia " 
was derived, or they, or some of them, may perhaps have 
been taken from the Gospel according to the Egyptians, 
to which Professor Harnack and others have referred 
the " Logia " found in 1897. But the discoverers are 
disposed to regard both series as collections of sayings 
currently ascribed to our Lord rather than as extracts 
from any one uncanonical gospel. 





The Royal Tombs at Abydos : Reconstruction of the First and Second Dy- 
nasties : The Ten Temples at Abydos : The statuette of Khufui : Pottery 
and Pottery Marks : The Expedition of the University of California. 

COME interesting explorations have 
been conducted in Egypt by the 
Exploration Fund during the four 
years 1900—04, under the guidance of 
Prof. W. M. Flinders Petrie, whose 
enthusiasm and patience for the work 
in this field seem to increase with the years of labour. 
In the winter of 1899—1900, Professor Petrie and his 
zealous helpers began their investigation of the royal 
tombs of the first dynasty at Abydos. Commenting on 
this undertaking, Professor Petrie writes: 

" It might have seemed a fruitless and thankless task 
to work at Abydos after it had been ransacked by 




Mariette, and had been for the last four years in the 
hands of the Mission Amelineau. My only reason was 
that the extreme importance of results from there led 
to a wish to ascertain everything possible about the early 
royal tombs after they were done with by others, and to 
search even for fragments of the pottery. To work at 
Abydos had been my aim for years past; but it was only 
after it was abandoned by the Mission Amelineau that 
at last, on my fourth application for it, I was permitted 
to rescue for historical study the results that are here 

" Nothing is more disheartening than being obliged 
to gather results out of the fraction left behind by past 
plunderers. In these royal tombs there had been not only 
the plundering of the precious metals and the larger 
valuables by the wreckers of early ages; there was after 
that the systematic destruction of monuments by the vile 
fanaticism of the Kopts, which crushed everything beau- 
tiful and everything noble that mere greed had spared; 
and worst of all, for history, came the active search in the 
last four years for everything that could have a value in 
the eyes of purchasers, or be sold for profit regardless of 
its source; a search in which whatever was not removed 
w r as deliberately and avowedly destroyed in order to en- 
hance the intended profits of European speculators. The 
results are therefore only the remains which have escaped 
the lust of gold, the fury of fanaticism, and the greed 
of speculators in this ransacked spot, x 

" A rich harvest of history has come from the site 
which was said to be exhausted; and in place of the dis- 


ordered confusion of names without any historical con- 
nection, which was all that was known from the Mission 
Amelineau, we now have the complete sequence of kings 
from the middle of the dynasty before Mena to prob- 
ably the close of the second dynasty, and we can trace 
in detail the fluctuations of art throughout these 
reigns." 1 

At the time when Professor Maspero brought his 
history of Egypt to a close, the earliest known historical 
ruler of Egypt was King Mena or Menes. 2 Mena is the 
first king on the fragmentary list of Manetho, and the 
general accuracy of Manetho was supported by the ac- 
counts of Herodotus and other ancient writers. For 
several centuries these accounts were accepted as the 
basis of authentic history. With the rise of the science 
of Egyptology, however, search began to be made for 
some corroboration of the actual existence of Mena, and 
this was found in the inscriptions of a temple wall at 
Abydos, which places Mena at the head of the first dy- 
nasty; and, allowing for differences of language, the 
records of Manetho relating to the earlier dynasty were 
established. Mena was therefore accepted as the first 
king of the first dynasty up to the very end of the nine- 
teenth century. 

As a result of Professor Petrie's recent investiga- 
tions, however, he has been enabled to carry back the 
line of the early kings for three or four generations. 

!"The Royal Tombs of the First Dynasty," Parts I. — II. (Eighteenth 
and Twenty-first Memoirs of the Egypt Exploration Fund), London, 1900-1902. 
2 See Volume I., page 322, et seq. 


The royal tombs at Abydos lie closely together in 
a compact group on a site raised slightly above the level 
of the surrounding plain, so that the tombs could never 
be flooded. Each of the royal tombs is a large square 
pit, lined with brickwork. Close around it, on its own 
level, or higher up, there are generally small chambers 
in rows, in which were buried the domestics of the king. 
Each reign adopted some variety in the mode of burial, 
but they all follow the type of the prehistoric burials, 
more or less developed. The plain square pit, like those 
in which the predynastic people were buried, is here the 
essential of the tomb. It is surrounded in the earlier 
examples of Zer or Zet by small chambers opening from 
it. By Merneit these chambers were built separately 
around it. By Den an entrance passage was added, and 
by Qa the entrance was turned to the north. At this 
stage we are left within reach of the early passage-mas- 
tabas and pyramids. Substituting a stone lining and 
roof for bricks and wood, and placing the small tombs of 
domestics farther away, we reach the type of the mas- 
taba-pyramid of Snofrui, and so lead on to the pyramid 
series of the Old Kingdom. 

The careful manner with which all details of a burial 
were supervised under the first dynasty enables the 
modern Egyptologist, by a skilful piecing together of 
evidence, to reconstruct an almost perfect picture of the 
life of Egypt at the dawn of civilisation. One of our 
most valuable sources of information is due to the fact 
that, in building the walls of the royal tombs, there were 
deposited in certain parts within the walls objects now 

















technically known as deposits. We do not know whether, 
in selecting these objects, the ancient Egyptian had 
regard to what he considered their intrinsic value, or 
whether, as was most probable, it was some religious 
motive that prompted his action. Often the objects thus 
deposited come under the designation of pottery, al- 
though the vases were sometimes shaped of stone and 
not of clay. Within such vases all kinds of objects were 
preserved. The jar or vase was closed with a lump of 
clay, either flat or conical, and the clay was impressed, 
while wet, with a seal. 

A detailed and elaborate examination of the relative 
positions of the tombs, their dimensions, and the objects 
found in them, compared with the various fragments of 
historical records of the early dynasties, enables us to 
reconstruct the exact order of these ancient rulers. This 
sequence is: 

By Tombs. 

Table of Abydos 


B 7 Ka . 

B 9 Zeser 1 

B 10 Narmer 

B 15 Sraa . 

B 19 Mena = Aha 

B 14 Bener-ab . 

O Zer . 

Z Zet . . 

Y Merneit 

T Den-Setui . 

X Azab-Merpaba 

U Mersekha 

Q Qa-Sen 


Men a . 

Teta . 
Atet . 
Ata . 
. . . ptah ? 









1 Ka and Zeser were possibly brothers of Mena. 



Following the dating tentatively computed by Pro- 
fessor Petrie, the dates of some of these kings are: 



Men a . 




• • • 4 




Thus we have reconstructed the list of Thinite kings 
before Mena so far as the facts allow, and perhaps so 
far as we are ever likely to ascertain them. 

The facts about the second dynasty, the kings after 
Qa, must now be studied. In the tomb of Perabsen it 
was found that there were buried with him vases of three 
other kings, which are therefore his predecessors. Their 
names are Hotepahaui, Raneb, and Neteren; and it is 
certain that Raneb preceded Neteren, as the latter had 
defaced and re-used a vase of the former. As on statue 
No. 1, Cairo Museum, these three names are in the 
above order, and, as the succession of two of them is 
now proved, it is only reasonable to accept them in this 
order. From all the available facts it seems that we 
ought to restore the dynasty thus: 








. . . Kakau 



. Baneteren . 



. Uaznes 


(Khashem) . 

. Senda 



• • • • a 

Kh aires 






The oldest tomb that we can definitely assign is that 
marked B 7, the tomb of King Ka. This is a pit with 
sloping sides; the thickness of the brick walls is that of 
the length of one brick, and the soft footing of the wall 
and pressure of sand behind it has overthrown the longer 
sides. The broken pottery mixed with the sand, which 

filled it, largely consisted 
of cylinder jars, like the 
later prehistoric form; 
and these had many in- 
scriptions on them, writ- 
ten in ink with a brush, 
most of which showed 
the name of Ka in the 
usual panelled frame. 
There can therefore be 
no doubt of the attribu- 
tion of this tomb. 

The tomb B 9 is per- 
haps that of King Zeser, 
who seems to have been a 
successor of Ka. It is of the same construction as that 
of Ka. The tomb B 10 appears to be the oldest of the 
great tombs, by its easternmost position; and the ob- 
jects of Narmer point to this as his tomb. In both the 
thickness and the batter of the walls there is a care 
shown in proportioning the strength of the ends and the 
sides. The tomb B 15 is probably that of King Sma. 
Its walls are not quite so thick, being fifty inches at the 
end. The post-holes in the floor suggest that there were 



five on the long side, and one in the middle of each end, 
as in the tomb of Narmer. But along the sides are holes 
for roofing beams near the top of the wall. These roof 
beams do not at all accord with the posts; and this proves 
that, here at least, the posts were for backing a wooden 
chamber inside the brick chamber. If this be the case 
here, it was probably also true in Narmer 's tomb; and 
hence these brick tombs were only the protective shell 
around a wooden chamber which contained the burial. 
This same system is known in the first dynasty tombs, 
and we see here the source of the chambered tombs of 
Zer and Zet. Before the age of Mena, the space around 
the wood chamber was used for dropping in offerings 
between the framing posts; and then, after Mena, sep- 
arate brick chambers were made around the wooden 
chamber in order to hold more offerings. 1 

The tomb B 19, which contained the best tablet of 
Aha-Mena, is probably his tomb; for the tomb with his 
vases at Naqada is more probably that of his queen Neit- 
hotep. As both the tombs B 17 and 18 to the north of 
this contained objects of Mena, it is probable that they 
were the tombs of some members of his family. 2 

The great cemetery of the domestics of this age is 
the triple row of tombs to the east of the royal tombs; 3 
in all the thirty-four tombs here, no name was found 
beside that of Aha on the jar sealings, and the two tombs, 

1 This chamber was burnt; and is apparently that mentioned by M. 
Amelineau, Fouilles, in extenso, 1899, page 107. 

2 For plan see page 361. 

3 For plan see pages 361 and 364. 



B 6 and B 14, seen to be probably of the same age. In 
B 14 were found only objects of Aha, and three of them 
were inscribed with the name of Bener-eb, probably the 
name of a wife or a daughter of Mena, which is not found 
in any other tomb. 1 

From the time of Mena has come down to us an ebony 
tablet, as shown in the illustration. This is the most 


complete of the inscriptions of tins king, and was found 
in two portions in the tombs marked B 18 and B 19. The 

1 Professor Petrie's arguments, although home out by the evidence that he 
produces, have from time to time been criticised. M. Naville, for example, 
endeavours to prove that the buildings in the desert are not literally tombs, but 
rather temples for the cult of their Ka ; and that there ought not to be kings 
anterior to Mena, particularly at Abydos : " Narmer " is really Boethos, the first 
king of the second dynasty. According to M. Naville, Boethos, Usaphis, and 
Miebidos are the only kings as yet identified of the early time. M. Naville 
also suggests that Ka-Sekhem and Ka-Sekhemui are two names for one king. 


signs upon the tablet are most interesting. On the top 
line, after the cartouche of Aha-Mena, there are two 

Bacred boats, probably of Sokaris, and a shrine and 

temenos of Nit. In the line below Is seen a man making 
an offering, and behind him is a bull running over un- 
dulating ground Into a nel stretched between two poles, 
while at the end, standing upon a shrine, is a bird, which 

appears to be the ibis of Thot. A third line shows three 
boats upon a canal or river, passing between certain 

places, and it has been reasonably conjectured thai the 

other signs in this line indicate these places as being Bin, 
a district of Memphis; Pa She (or A4 the dwelling of the 

lake "), the capital of the Fayum; and the ('anal of 
Mer, or Bahr Yusef. So far this tablet contains picture 
signs, but the fourth line gives a continued series of hier- 
oglyphics, and is the oldest line of such characters yet 

discovered. Mr. F. Id. Griffiths translates these char- 
acters as kt who takes the throne of Horus." 

In the north-west corner of the tomb, a stairway of 
bricks was roughly inserted in later times in order to 
give access to the shrine of Osiris. That this is not an 
original feature is manifest: the walls are burnt red by 
the burning of the tomb, while the stairs are built of 
black mud brick with fresh mud mortar smeared over 
the reddened wall. Tt is notable that the burning of these 
tombs took place before their re-use in the eighteenth 
dynasty; as is also seen bv the re-built doorwav of the 
tomb of Den, which is of large black bricks over smaller 
red burnt bricks. It is therefore quite beside the mark 
to attribute this burning to the Kopts. 



The tomb of King Zer has an important secondary 
history as the site of the shrine of Osiris, established in 
the eighteenth dynasty (for none of the pottery offered 
there is earlier than that of Amenhothes III.)? and vis- 
ited with offerings from that time until the twenty-sixth 
dynasty, when additional sculptures were placed here. 
Afterwards it was despoiled by the Kopts in erasing 

TOMB OF ZER, 4700 B. C. 

the worship of Osiris. It is the early state of the place 
as the tomb of King Zer that we have to study here, and 
not its later history. 

The tomb chamber has been built of wood; and the 
brick cells around it were built subsequently against the 
wooden chamber, as their rough, unplastered ends show; 
moreover, the cast of the grain of the wood can be seen 
on the mud mortar adhering to the bricks. There are 


also long, shallow grooves in the floor, a wide one near 
the west wall, three narrow ones parallel to that, and a 
short cross groove, all probably the places of beams 
which supported the wooden chamber. Besides these 
there was till recently a great mass of carbonised wood 
along the north side of the floor. This was probably 
part of the flooring of the tomb, which, beneath the wood- 
work, was covered with a layer of bricks, which lay on 
clean sand. But all the middle of the tomb had been 
cleared to the native marl for building the Osiris shrine, 
of which some fragments of sculpture in hard limestone 
are now all that remain. 

A strange feature here is that of the red recesses, 
such as were also found in the tomb of Zet. The large 
ones are on the west wall, and in the second cell on the 
north wall. No meaning can yet be assigned to these, 
except as spirit-entrances to the cells of offerings, like 
the false doors in tombs of the Old Kingdom. 

In spite of the plundering of the tombs in various 
ages, the work of the Egypt Exploration Fund was so 
thorough that not a few gold objects have been found 
in the course of recent excavations. By far the most 
important discovery of recent years was that of some 
jewelry in the tomb of King Zer. The story of this find 
is so entertaining, and illustrates so admirably the 
method of the modern scientific explorer, that we give 
the account of it in Professor Petrie's own words: 

" While my workmen were clearing the tomb, they 
noticed among the rubbish which they were moving a 
piece of the arm of a mummy in its wrappings. It lay 


in a broken hole in the north wall of the tomb. The 
party of four who found it looked into the end of the 
wrappings and saw a large gold bead, the rosette in the 
second bracelet. They did not yield to the natural wish 
to search further or to remove it ; but laid the arm down 
where they found it until Mr. Mace should come and 
verify it. Nothing but obtaining the complete confidence 
of the workmen, and paying them for all they find, could 
ever make them deal with valuables in this careful man- 
ner. On seeing it, Mr. Mace told them to bring it to 
our huts intact, and I received it quite undisturbed. In 
the evening the most intelligent of the party was sum- 
moned as a witness of the opening of the wrappings, 
so that there should be no suspicion that I had not dealt 
fairly with the men. I then cut open the linen bandages, 
and found, to our great surprise, the four bracelets of 
gold and jewelry. The verification of the exact order of 
threading occupied an hour or two, working with a mag- 
nifier, my wife and Mr. Mace assisting. When recorded, 
the gold was put in the scales and weighed against 
sovereigns before the workman, who saw everything. 
Rather more than the value of gold was given to the men, 
and thus we ensured their good-will and honesty for the 

The hawk bracelet consists of thirteen gold and four- 
teen turquoise plaques in the form of the f agade with the 
hawk, which usually encloses the ka name of the king. 
The gold hawks have been cast in a mould with two 
faces, and the junction line has been carefully removed 
and burnished. The gold was worked by chisel and 


burnishing; no grinding or file marks are visible. In 
the second bracelet, with the rosette, two groups of 
beads are united at the sides by bands of gold wire and 
thick hair. The fastening of the bracelet was by a loop 
and button. This button is a hollow ball of gold with a 
shank of gold wire fastened in it. The third bracelet is 
formed of three similar groups, one larger, and the other 
smaller on either side. The middle of each group con- 
sists of three beads of dark purple lazuli. The fastening 
of this bracelet was by a loop and button. The fourth 
bracelet is fashioned of hour-glass beads. 

In this extraordinary group of the oldest jewelry 
known, we see unlimited variety and fertility of design. 
Excepting the plain gold balls, there is not a single bead 
in any one bracelet which would be interchangeable with 
those in another bracelet. Each is of independent de- 
sign, fresh and free from all convention or copying. 

The tomb of Zet 1 consists of a large chamber twenty 
feet wide and thirty feet long, with smaller chambers 
around it at its level, the whole bounded by a thick brick 
wall, which rises seven and a half feet to the roof, and 
then three and a half feet more to the top of the retain- 
ing wall. Outside of this on the north is a line of small 
tombs about five feet deep, and on the south a triple 
line of tombs of the same depth. And apparently of the 
same system and same age is the mass of tombs marked 
W, which are parallel to the tomb of Zet. Later there 
appears to have been built the long line of tombs, placed 
askew, in order not to interfere with those which have 

1 For plan see page 361. 



been mentioned, and then this skew line gave the di- 
rection to the nent tomb, that of Merneit, and later on 
to that of Azab. The private graves around the royal 
tomb are all built of mud brick, with a coat of mud 
plaster over it, and the floor is of sand, usually also 
coated over with mud. 

The first question about these great tombs is how 


they were covered over. Some have said that such spaces 
could not be roofed, and at first sight it would seem 
almost impossible. But the actual beams found yet 
remaining in the tombs are as long as the widths of the 
tombs, and therefore timber of such sizes could be pro- 
cured. In the tomb of Qa the holes for the beams yet 
remain in the walls, and even the cast of the end of a 
beam, and in the tombs of Merneit, Azab, and Mer- 
sekha are posts and pilasters to help in supporting a 


roof. The clear span of the chamber of Zet is 240 inches, 
or 220 if the beams were carried on a wooden lining, as 
seems likely. It is quite practicable to roof over these 
great chambers up to spans of twenty feet. The wood 
of such lengths was actually used, and, if spaced out 
over only a quarter of the area, the beams would carry 
their load with full safety. Any boarding, mats, or straw 
laid over the beams would not increase the load. That 
there was a mass of sand laid over the tomb is strongly 
shown by the retaining wall around the top. This wall 
is roughly built, and not intended to be a visible feature. 
The outside is daubed with mud plaster, and has a con- 
siderable slope; the inside is left quite rough, with bricks 
in and out. i 

Turning now to the floor, the basis of it is mud plas- 
tering, which was whitewashed. On that were laid beams 
around the sides, and one down the middle: these beams 
were placed before the mud floor was hard, and have 
sunk about one-quarter inch into it. On the beams a 
ledge was recessed, and on this ledge the edges of the 
flooring planks rested. Such planks would not bend in 
the middle by a man standing on them, and therefore 
made a sound floor. Over the planks was laid a coat 
of mud plaster. This construction doubtless shows what 
was the mode of flooring the palaces and large houses 
of the earty Egyptians, in order to keep off the damp 
of the ground in the Nile valley. For common houses 
a basis of pottery jars turned mouth down was used for 
the same purpose. A very striking example of this 
method was unearthed at Koptos. 


The sides of the great central chamber of Zet are 
not clear in arangement. The brick cross walls, which 
subdivide them into separate cells, have no finished faces 
on their ends. All the wall faces are plastered and white- 
washed; but the ends of the cross walls are rough bricks, 
all irregularly in and out. Moreover, the bricks project 
forward irregularly over the beam line. It seems, then, 
that there was an upright timber lining to the chamber, 
against which the cross walls were built the walls thus 
having rough ends projecting over the beams. The foot- 
ing of this upright plank lining is indicated by a groove 
left along the western floor beam between the ledge on 
the beam and the side of the flooring planks. Thus we 
reach a wooden chamber, lined with upright planks, 
which stood out from the wall, or from the backs of the 
beams. How the side chambers were entered is not 
shown; whether there was a door to each or not. But 
as they were intended to be for ever closed, and as the 
chambers in two corners were shut off by brickwork all 
round, it seems likely that all the side chambers were 
equally closed. And thus, after the slain domestics and 
offerings were deposited in them, and the king in the 
centre hall, the roof would be permanently placed over 
the whole. 

The height of the chamber is proved by the cast of 
straw which formed part of the roofing, and which comes 
at the top of the course of headers on edge which copes 
the wall all around the chamber. Over this straw there 
was laid one course of bricks a little recessed, and be- 
yond that is the wide ledge all round before reaching the 


retaining wall. The height of the main chamber was 

90.6 inches from the floor level. 

Having examined the central chamber, the chambers 

at the sides should be next considered. The cross walls 
were built after the main brick outside was finished and 
plastered. The deep recesses coloured red, on the north 
side, were built in the construction; where the top is 
preserved entire, as in a side chamber on the north, it 
is seen that the roofing of the recess was upheld by build- 
ing in a board about an inch thick. The shallow recesses 
along the south side were merely made in the plastering, 
and even in the secondary plastering after the cross walls 
were built. All of these recesses, except that at the 
south-west, were coloured pink-red, due to mixing burnt 
ochre with the white. 

The tomb of Merneit was not at first suspected to 
exist, as it had no accumulation of pottery over it; and 
the whole ground had been pitted all over by the Mission 
Amelineau making " quelques sondages," without re- 
vealing the chambers or the plan. As soon, however, 
as Petrie began systematically to clear the ground, the 
scheme of a large central chamber, with eight long cham- 
bers for offerings around it, and a line of private tombs 
enclosing it, stood apparent. The central chamber is 
very accurately built, with vertical sides parallel to less 
than an inch. It is about twenty-one feet wide and thirty 
feet long, or practically the same as the chamber of Zet. 
Around the chamber are walls forty-eight to fifty-two 
inches thick, and beyond them a girdle of long, narrow 
chambers forty-eight inches wide and 160 to 215 inches 


long. Of these chambers for offerings, Nos. 1, 2, 5, and 7 
still contain pottery in place, and No. 3 contains many 
jar sealings. 

At a few yards distant from the chambers full of 
offerings is a line of private graves almost surrounding 
the royal tomb. This line has an interruption at the 
south end of the west side similar to the interruption 
of the retaining wall of the tomb of Zet at that quarter. 
It seems, therefore, that the funeral approached it from 
that direction. 

The chamber of the tomb of Merneit shows signs of 
burning on both the walls and the floor. A small piece 
of wood yet remaining indicates that it also had a wooden 
floor like the other tombs. Against the walls stand 
pilasters of brick; and, although these are not at pres- 
ent more than a quarter of the whole height of the wall, 
they originally reached to the top. These pilasters are 
entirely additions to the first building; they stand against 
the plastering and upon a loose layer of sand and peb- 
bles about four inches thickr Thus it is clear that they 
belonged to the subsequent stage of the fitting of a roof 
to the chamber. The holes that are shown in the floor 
are apparently connected with the construction, as they 
are not in the mid-line where pillars are likely. At the 
edge of chamber No. 2 is a cast of plaited palm-leaf mat- 
ting on the mud mortar above this level, and the bricks 
are set back irregularly. This shows the mode of finish- 
ing off the roof of this tomb. 

From the position of the tomb of Den-Setui, it is 
seen naturally to follow the building of the tombs of 























Zet and Merneit. It is surrounded by rows of small 
chambers for offerings, and for the burial of domestics. 
The king's tomb appears to have contained a large num- 
ber of tablets of ivory and ebony, for fragments of eight- 
een were found, and two others are known, making in all 
twenty tablets from this one tomb. The inscriptions 
on stone vases are, however, not more frequent than in 
previous reigns. This tomb appears to have been one 
of the most costly and sumptuous. The astonishing fea- 
ture of this chamber is the granite pavement, such con- 
siderable use of granite being quite unknown until the 
step pyramid of Saqqara early in the third dynasty. 
At the south-west corner is a strange annex. A stairway 
leads down from the west and then turns to the north. 
At the foot of the first flight of steps is a space for in- 
serting planks and brickwork to close the chamber, like 
the blocking of the door of the tomb of Azab. 1 This 
small chamber was therefore intended to be closed. 
Whether this chamber was for the burial of one of the 
royal family, or for the deposit of offerings, it is diffi- 
cult to determine. Of the various rows of graves around 
the great tomb there is nothing to record in detail. An 
ebony tablet, presumably of the time of Den, found among 
the first dynasty tombs, represents a scene in which a 
king is dancing before Osiris, the god being seated in 
his shrine. This tablet is the earliest example of those 
pictorial records of a religious ceremony which, as we now 
know, was continued almost without change from the 

1 For plan see page 361, and for photograph see page 383. 



first dynasty to the thirty-third. It is interesting to note 
on this engraving that the king is represented with the 
hap and a short stick instead of the oar. It should be 
noted also that the royal name, Setui, occurs in the lower 
part of the tablet, so that there is a strong presumption 
that the tablet is of the time of Den-Setui, and the pre- 
sumption is almost a certainty when the tablet is com- 
pared with some sealings found in its vicinity. Mr. F. 
LI. Griffiths has written at length on this important in- 


scription. 1 He thinks that this tablet and two others 
somewhat similar were the brief annals of the time, and 
record the historic events and the names of government 
officials. He translates a portion of the inscription as 
" Opening the gates of foreign lands," and in another 
part he reads, " The master comes, the King of Upper 
and Lower Egypt." Moreover, he translates certain 

1 Royal Tombs of the first dynasty, Part T : Eighteenth Memoir of the 
Egypt Exploration Fund, London, 1900, page 42. 



signs as " Sheikh of the Libyans," and he identifies a 
place named Tny as This, or the capital of the nome in 
which Abydos lay. 

Of this reign also is an ivory tablet finely polished, 
but blackened with burning, which has engraved upon 
it the oldest architectural drawing in the world. The 
inscription on this precious fragment apparently refers 

to the great chiefs coming to the 
tomb of Setui, and a picture of 
a building in the middle of the 
inscription may be taken as rep- 
resenting on the left the tomb 
chamber of Den-Setui, with a 
slight mound over it. The up- 
right strokes represent the steles 
outside the tombs, adjacent to 
which is the inclined stairway, 
while on the right is a diagram 
of the cemetery, with graves ar- 
ranged in rows around the tomb, 1 
with small steles standing up over the graves. 

A small piece of still another ivory tablet 2 gives an 
interesting portrait of Den-Setui. This king flourished 
about 4600 b. c, so that this is perhaps the oldest por- 
trait that can be named and dated. It shows the double 
crown fully developed, and has an additional interest, 
inasmuch as the crown of Lower Egypt was apparently 
coloured red, while the crown of Upper Egypt was white 

B. C. 4000 

1 The plan of this tomb, as discovered recently, is given on page 377. 

2 This tablet is illustrated on page 357. 



in accordance with the practice that we know existed 
during the later historic period. 

Among the many ivory objects found at Abydos is 
a small ivory panel from a box which seems to have 
contained the golden seal of judgment of King Den. 

The engraving of this ivory panel 
is of the finest description, and 
bears evidence of the magnificent 
workmanship of the Egyptians 
6,500 years ago. It will be seen 
that enough of the fragment has 
been preserved to include the 
cartouche of the monarch, and 
the snake at the side is the pic- 
tograph of judgment. Beneath 
is the hieroglyph for gold, and 
at the bottom is a sign which 
represents a seal cylinder * roll- 
ing over a piece of clay. 

The tomb of Azab-Merpaba 2 is a plain chamber, with 
rather sloping sides, about twenty-two feet long and 
fourteen feet wide. The surrounding wall is nearly five 
feet thick. The lesser and more irregular chamber on 
the north is of the same depth and construction, fourteen 
feet by nine. This lesser chamber had no remains of 
flooring; it contained many large sealings of jars, and 

1 It was for a long time thought that this hieroglyphic character represented 
a finger ring, but as it is now positively known that finger rings were not in use 
until long after the time of Den, this explanation had to be abandoned in favour 
of the more correct interpretation of a seal cylinder. 

2 For plan see page 361. 

4600 B. C. 



seems to have been for all the funeral provision, like 
the eight chambers around the tomb of Merneit. Around 
this tomb is a circuit of small private tombs, leaving a gap 
on the southwest like that of Merneit, and an additional 
branch line has been added on at the north. All of these 
tombs are very irregularly built; the sides are wavy in 
direction, and the divisions of the long trench are slightly 


piled up, of bricks laid lengthwise, and easily over- 
thrown. This agrees with the rough and irregular con- 
struction of the central tomb and offering chamber. The 
funeral of Azab seems to have been more carelesslv con- 
ducted than that of any of the other kings here ; only one 
piece of inscribed vase was in his tomb, as against eight 
of his found in his successor's tomb, and many other of 
his vases erased by his successor. Thus his palace prop- 
erty seems to have been kept back for his successor's 


use, and not buried with Azab himself. In some of the 
chambers much ivory inlaying was found. 

The entrance to the tomb of Azab was by a stairway 
descending from the east, thus according with the sys- 
tem begun by Den. On the steps, just outside of the 
door, were found dozens of small pots loosely piled to- 
gether. These must have contained offerings made after 
the completion of the burial. The blocking is made by 
planks and bricks, the whole outside of the planking 
being covered by bricks loosely stacked, as can be seen 
in the photograph, the planking having decayed away 
from before them. The chamber was floored with planks 
of wood laid flat on the sand, without any supporting 
beams as in other tombs. 

The tomb of Mersekha-Semempses * is forty-four 
feet long and twenty-five feet wide, surrounded by a wall 
over five feet thick. The surrounding small chambers 
are only three to four feet deep where perfect, while 
the central pit is still eleven and one-half feet deep, 
though broken away at the top. When examined by Pro- 
fessor Petrie few of the small chambers contained any- 
thing. Seven steles were found, the inscriptions of which 
are marked in the chambers of the plan; and other steles 
were also found here, scattered so that they could not 
be identified with the tombs. The most interesting are 
two steles of dwarfs, which show the dwarf type clearly; 
with one were found bones of a dwarf. In a chamber 
on the east was a jar and a copper bowl, which shows 
the hammer marks, and is roughly finished, with the 

1 For plan see pages 361 and 377. 



edge turned over to leave it smooth. The small com- 
partments in the south-eastern chambers were probably 
intended to hold the offerings placed in the graves; the 
dividing walls are only about half the depth of the grave. 
The structure of the interior of the tomb of Mersekha 
is at present uncertain. Only in the corner by the en- 
trance was the wooden flooring preserved; several beams 
(one now in Cairo Museum) and much broken wood was 


found loose in the rubbish. The entrance is nine feet 
wide, and was blocked by loose bricks, flush with wall 
face, as seen in the photograph. Another looser walling 
farther out, also seen in the photograph, is probably that 
of plunderers to hold back the sand. 

The tomb of King Qa, which is the last of the first 
dynasty, shows a more developed stage than the others. 
Chambers for offerings are built on each side of the 



entrance passage, and this passage is turned to the north, 
as in the mastabas of the third dynasty and in the pyra- 
mids. The whole of the building is hasty and defective. 
The bricks were mostly used too new, probably less than 
a week after being made. Hence the walls have seriously 
collapsed in most of the lesser chambers; only the one 
great chamber was built of firm and well-dried bricks. 
In the small chambers along the east side the long wall 


between chambers 10 and 5 has crushed out at the base, 
and spread against the pottery in the grave 5, and against 
the wooden box in grave 2. Hence the objects must have 
been placed in those graves within a few days of the 
building of the wall, before the mud bricks were hard 
enough to carry even four feet height of wall. The 
burials of the domestics must therefore have taken place 
all at once, immediately after the king's tomb was built, 
and hence they must have been sacrificed at the funeral. 







The pottery placed in the chambers is all figured in posi- 
tion on the plan. 

Only three steles were found in the grave of Qa, but 
these were larger than those of the earlier graves. One 

of them, No. 48, is the longest and most 
important inscription that has come 
down to us from the first dynasty. 
This lay in a chamber 1 on the west 
side of the tomb. In the preparation 
of the stele, the block of stone had been 
ground all over and edges rounded. 
On its surface the hieroglyphs were 
then sketched in red ink, and were 
finally drawn in black, the ground being then roughly 
hammered out. There the work stopped, and the final 
scraping and dressing of the figures was never accom- 
plished. The reading of the signs is therefore difficult, 
but enough is seen to show that the keeper of the tomb 
bore the name of Sabef. He had two titles which are 
now illegible, and was also,-" Overseer of the Sed Fes- 
tival. " This scanty information goes to show how little 
the official titles were changed between the days of the 
first dynasty and the time of the building of the pyra- 
mids. The stele of the king Qa was found lying over 
chamber 3 ; it is like that found by M. Amelineau, carved 
in black quartzose stone. Near it, on the south, were 
dozens of large pieces of fine alabaster bowls. 

Among various objects found in these chambers 
should be noted the fine ivory carving from chamber 

See chamber No. 21 on the plan, page 385. 


23, showing a bound captive; * the large stock of painted 
model vases in limestone in a box in chamber 20; the 
set of perfect vases found in chamber 21; a fine piece 
of ribbed ivory; a piece of thick gold-foil covering of 
a hotep table, patterned as a mat, found in the long 
chamber west of the tomb; the deep mass of brown vege- 
table matter in the north-east chamber; the large stock 
of grain between chambers 8 and 11; and the bed of 
currants ten inches thick, though dried, which underlay 
the pottery in chamber 11. In chamber 16 were large 
dome-shaped jar sealings, with the name of Azab, and 
on one of them the ink- written signs of the " King's 

The entrance passage has been closed with rough 
brick walling at the top. It is curiously turned askew, 
as if to avoid some obstacle, but the chambers of the 
tomb of Den do not come near its direction. After nine 
steps, the straight passage is reached, and then a lime- 
stone portcullis slab bars the way, let into grooves on 
either side; it was, moreover, backed up by a buttress 
of brickwork in five steps behind it. All this shows that 
the rest of the passage must have been roofed in so deeply 
that entry from above was not the obvious course. The 
inner passage descends by steps, each about five inches 
high, partly in the slope, partly in the rise of the step. 
The side chambers open off this stairway by side pas- 
sages a little above the level of the stairs. 

The interior structure of the tomb of Qa is rather 
different from any other. Instead of the timber being 

1 The chambers are indicated on the plan on page 385. 


an entirely separate structure apart from the brick, the 
brick sides seem here to have been very loosely built 
against the timber sides. Some detail yet remains of 
the wooden floor. The roofing is distinct in this tomb, 
and it is evident that there was an axial beam, and 
that the side beam only went half across the chamber. 
This is the only tomb with the awkward feature of 
an axial doorway, and it is interesting to note how the 
beam was placed out of the axis to accommodate 

The tomb of Perabsen 1 shows a great change in form 
since the earlier series. A new dynasty with new ideas 
had succeeded the great founders of the monarchy; the 
three reigns had passed by before we can again see here 
the system of the tombs. Even the national worship 
was changed, and Set had become prominent. The type 
of tomb which had been developed under Azab, Mer- 
sekha, and Qa seems to have given way to the earlier 
pattern of Zer and Zet. In this tomb of Perabsen we 
see the same row of small cells separated by cross walls, 
like those of the early kings; but in place of a wooden 
central chamber there is a brick chamber, and a free 
passage is left around it communicating with the cells. 
What was the form of the south side of that chamber 
cannot now be traced, as, if any wall existed, it is now 
entirely destroyed. The entirely new feature is the con- 
tinuous passage around the whole tomb. Perhaps the 
object of this was to guard against plunderers entering 
by digging sideways into the tomb. 

1 For plan see page 361. 



The tomb of Khasekhemui 1 is very different from any 
of the other royal tombs yet known. The total length 
of the chamber from end to end is two hundred and 
twenty-three feet, and the breadth in the middle is forty 


feet, growing wider towards the northern end. The whole 
structure is very irregular; and, to add to the confusion, 
the greater part of it was built of freshly made mud 
bricks, which have yielded with the pressure and flowed 
out sideways, until the walls are often double their orig- 

1 For plan see page 361. 


inal breadth. It was only owing to this flow of the walls 
over the objects in the chambers, that so many valuable 
things were found perfect, and in position. Where 
the whole of the original outline of a wall had dis- 
appeared, the form is given in the plan with wavy out- 

The central stone chamber of the tomb of Khasekhe- 
mui is the most important part of the whole, as it is 
the oldest stone construction yet known. The chamber 
is roughly seventeen by ten feet; the depth is nearly 
six feet. There is no sign of any roof. 

Nearly all the contents of this tomb were removed 
by the French investigators in 1897. Among the more 
interesting objects found were sealings of yellow clay, 
which were curiously enough of different types at oppo- 
site ends of the tomb. Copper needles, chisels, axes, 
and model tools were also found, and a beautiful sceptre 
of gold and sard was brought to light by Professor Petrie, 
only an inch or two below a spot that had been cleared 
by previous explorers. r- 

In chamber 2 of the tomb of Khasekhemui were 
also found six vases of dolomite and one of carnelian. 
Two of these are show r n in the illustration, and each has 
a cover of thick gold-foil fitted over the top, and secured 
with a double turn of twisted gold wire, the wire being 
sealed with a small lump of clay, the whole operation 
resembling the method of the modern druggist, in fasten- 
ing a box of ointment. Near these vases were found 
two beautiful gold bracelets; one, Number 3, is still 
in a perfect condition; the other, Number 4, has been, 



unfortunately, crushed by the yielding of the wall of the 
tomb in which it was deposited. 

Each royal grave seems to have had connected with 
it two great steles. Two, for instance, were found in the 
tomb of Merneit, one of which, however, was demol- 
ished. There were also two steles at the grave of Qa. 
So far only one stele had been found of Zet, and one of 
Mersekha, and none appear to have survived of Zer, 
Den, or Azab. These steles seem to have been placed 


at the east side of the tombs, and on the ground level, 
and such of them as happened to fall down upon their 
inscribed faces have generally been found in an excel- 
lent state of preservation. 

Hence we must figure to ourselves two great steles 
standing up, side by side, on the east of the tomb; and 
this is exactly in accord with the next period that 
we know, in which, at Medum, Snofrui had two great 
steles and an altar between them on the east of his tomb ; 
and Rahotep had two great steles, one on either side of 
the offering-niche, east of his tomb. Probably the pair 
of obelisks of the tomb of Antef V., at Thebes, were a 


later form of this system. Around the royal tomb stood 
the little private steles of the domestics, placed in rows, 
thus forming an enclosure about the king. 

Some of Professor Petrie's most interesting work at 
Abydos was commenced in November, 1902. In the pre- 
vious season a part of the early town of Abydos had been 
excavated, and it was found that its period began at the 
close of the prehistoric age, and extended over the first 
few dynasties; the connection between the prehistoric 
scale and historic reigns was thus settled. The position 
of this town was close behind the site of the old temples 
of Abydos, and within the great girdle-wall enclosure 
of the twelfth dynasty, which stands about half a mile 
north of the well-known later temples of Seti I. and 
Ramses II. This early town, being behind the temples, 
or more into the sandy edge of the desert, was higher 
up; the ground gently sloping from the cultivated land 
upward as a sandy plain, until it reaches the foot of the 
hills, a couple of miles back. 

The broad result of these new excavations is that ten 
different temples can be traced on the same ground, 
though of about twenty feet difference of level; each 
temple built on the ruins of that which preceded it, quite 
regardless of the work of the earlier kings. 

In such a clearance it was impossible to preserve all 
the structures. Had Petrie and his companions avoided 
moving the foundations of the twenty-sixth dynasty, they 
could never have seen much of the earlier work; had 
they left the paving of the twelfth dynasty in place, 
they must have sacrificed the objects of the Old Kingdom. 



Also, had they only worked the higher levels, and left 
the rest, the inflow of high Nile would have formed a 


'♦0 tombs or 

|Q l* T DYN. 



pond, which would have so rotted the ground that deeper 
work could not have been carried on in the future. The 
only course, therefore, was to plan everything fully, and 
remove whatever stood in the way of more complete ex- 


ploration. All striking pieces of construction, such as 
the stone gateways of Papi, were left untouched, and 
work carried on to deep levels around them; in this way, 
at the end of the season, the site was bristling with pieces 
of wall and blocks of stonework, rising ten or fifteen feet 
above the low level clearances. As the excavations pro- 
gressed, there was an incessant need of planning and 
recording all the constructions. Professor Petrie always 
went about with a large dinner-knife and a trowel in his 
pocket, and spent much time in cutting innumerable 
sections and tracing out the lines of the bricks. The top 
and base level of each piece of wall had to be marked 
on it; and the levels could then be measured off to fixed 

An outline of some of the principal buildings is given, 
to show the general nature of the site of the temple of 
Abydos. This plan is not intended to show all periods, 
nor the whole work of any one age ; but only a selection 
which will avoid confusion. The great outer wall on the 
plan was probably first built by Usirtasen I. ; the bricks 
of the oldest parts of it are the same size as bricks of his 
foundation deposits, and it rests upon town ruins of the 
Old Kingdom. But this wall has been so often broken 
and repaired that a complete study of it would be a heavy 
task; some parts rest on nineteenth dynasty building, 
and even Eoman patchwork is seen. Its general charac- 
ter is shown with alternating portions, the first set con- 
sisting of towers of brickwork built in concave founda- 
tions, and then connecting walls between, formed in 
straight courses. The purpose of this construction has 



long been a puzzle. The alternate concave and straight 
courses are the natural result of building isolated masses, 
on a concave bed like all Egyptian houses, and then con- 
necting them by intermediate walls. The hard face across 
the wall, and the joint to prevent the spread of scaling, 
are the essential advantages of this construction. 


The corner marked Kom-de-Sultan is the enclosure 
which was emptied out by Marietta's diggers, because 
of the abundance of burials with steles of the twelfth to 
eighteenth dynasties. They have removed all the earth 
to far below the base of the walls, thus digging in most 
parts right through the town of the Old Kingdom, which 
stood here before the great walls were built. The inner 
two sides of this enclosed corner are later than the outer 
wall; the bricks are larger than those of Usirtasen, and 
the base of the wall is higher than his. The causeway 


line indicated through the site by a dotted line from the 
east to the west gate is a main feature; but it is later 
than the sixth dynasty, as the wall of that age cuts it, 
and it was cut in two by later buildings of the twentieth 
dynasty. It seems then to begin with Usirtasen, whose 
gateways it runs through; and to have been kept up by 
Thutmosis III., who built a wall with granite pylon for 
it, and also by Ramses II., who built a great portal colon- 
nade of limestone for the causeway to pass through on 
entering the cemetery outside the west wall of this plan. 

To the north of the causeway are seen the tombs of 
the first dynasty. One more, No. 27, was found beneath 
the wall of Thutmosis; it was of the same character as 
the larger of the previous tombs. All of these are far 
below any of the buildings shown on this outline plan. 

Of the two long walls, marked vi., the inner is older, 
but was re-used by Papi. It is probably the temenos of 
the third dynasty. The outer wall is the temenos of 
the sixth dynasty, the west side of which is yet unknown, 
and has probably been all destroyed. The temple of 
Papi is shown in the middle with the north-west and 
south sides of the thin boundary wall which enclosed it. 
The thick wall which lies outside of that is the great wall 
of the eighteenth dynasty, with the granite pylon of 
Thutmosis IH. It seems to have followed the line of the 
sixth dynasty wall on the north. The outline marked 
xix. shows a high level platform of stone, which was prob- 
ably for the basement of buildings of Ramses II. 

Within the area of these temples was discovered quite 
a number of historical relics. None is more interesting, 



perhaps, than the ivory statuette of the first dynasty 
king. This anonymous ruler is figured as wearing the 
crown of Upper Egypt, and a thick embroidered robe. 

From the nature of the pattern and 
the stiff edge represented, it looks 
as if this robe were quilted with 
embroidery; no such dress is 
known on any Egyptian figure yet 
found. The work belongs to an 
unconventional school, before the 
rise of the fixed traditions; it 
might have been carved in any age 
and country where good natural 
work was done. In its unshrink- 
ing figuring of age and weakness 
with a subtle character, it shows 
a power of dealing with individ- 
uality which stands apart from all 
the later work. 

Of greater interest, however, 
is the ivory statuette of Khufui, 
which is the first figure of that monarch that has 
come to light. The king is seated upon his throne, 
and the inscription upon the front of it leaves no 
doubt as to the identity of the figure. The work is 
of extraordinary delicacy and finish; for even when mag- 
nified it does not suggest any imperfection or clumsi- 
ness, but might have belonged to a life-sized statue. 
The proportion of the head is slightly exaggerated; as, 
indeed, is always the case in minute work; but the char- 




acter and expression are as well handled as they might be 
on any other scale, and are full of power and vigour. The 
idea which it conveys to us of the personality of Khufui 
agrees with his historical position. We see the energy, 
the commanding air, the indomitable will, and the firm 

ability of the man who stamped 
for ever the character of the Egyp- 
tian monarchy and outdid all time 
in the scale of his works. No other 
Egyptian king that we know re- 
sembled this head; and it stands 
apart in portraiture, though per- 
haps it may be compared with the 
energetic face of Justinian, the 
great builder and organiser. 

Two ivory lions were also f ound 
in one of the private tombs around 
that of Zer. It is evident that these 
lions were used as playing pieces, 
probably for the well-known pre- 
historic game of Pour Lions and a 
Hare, for the bases of the lions are 
much worn, as if by sliding about upon a smooth surface, 
and the pelt of the lion, as originally carved, is also worn 
off as if by continued handling. The lion shown in the 
illustration is of a later style than those of Zer or of 
Mena. Near the place where this was found were a few 
others. One of them, apparently a lioness, is depicted 
with a collar, indicating that the animal had been tamed, 
and yet another had inserted within the head an eye 





accurately cut in chalcedony. Another valuable object 
unearthed at Abydos was the sceptre of King Khase- 
khemui. This consisted of a series of cylinders of sard 
embellished at every fourth cylinder with double bands 
of thick gold, and com- 
pleted at the thinner end 
with a plain cap of gold, 
copper rod, now corroded, 
binding the whole together. 

During the reign of 
King Zer the ivory arrow 
tip began to be commonly 
used; hundreds were gathered from his tomb, and the 
variety of forms is greater than in any other reign. Be- 
sides the plain circular points, many of them have red- 
dened tips; there are also examples of quadrangular 
barbed tips, and others are pentagonal, square, or oval. 
Only the plain circular tips appear in succeeding reigns 
down to the reign of Mersekha, except a single example 
of the oval forms under Den. 

Some flint arrow-heads were also found around the 
tomb of Zer, mostly of the same type as those found in 
the tomb of Mena. 1 Two, however, of these arrow-heads, 
Numbers 13 and 14, are of a form entirely unknown as 
yet in any other age or country. The extreme top of the 
head is of a chisel form, and this passes below into the 
more familiar pointed form. The inference here is almost 
inevitable, and it seems as if the arrow-heads had been 
made in this peculiar way with a view to using the arrow 

1 For plan see page 361. 


a second time after the tip was broken in attacking an 
animal. Another curious object dating from this reign 
and classed among the arrows is a small portion of flint 
set perpendicularly into the end of a piece of wood.. This, 
in the opinion of Professor Giglioli, is not an arrow at 
all, but a tattooing instrument. If this explanation be 
correct, then this instrument is an extremely interesting 
find, for the fact has been recently brought to light that 


tattooing was in vogue in prehistoric times, and there 
is, moreover, at Cairo, the mummy of a priestess of the 
twelfth dynasty having the skin decorated in this 

Among the domestic articles is an admirable design 
of pair of tweezers, made with a wide hinge and stiff 
points. Of analogous interest are two copper fish-hooks, 
which, however, have no barbs. Needles also, which we 
know were used in prehistoric days, appear in the relics 



of the tomb of Zer and of subsequent rulers. Of the 
reign of Zer are also found copper harpoons cut with 
a second fang, similar forms being found among the re- 
mains of Mersekha and of Khasekhemui. In the centre 


of the illustration is seen the outline of a chisel of the 
time of Zer, very similar to those used in the early pre- 
historic ages. The same continuity from prehistoric to 
first dynasty times is shown in the shape of the copper 
pins dating from Zer, Den, Mersekha, and Qa. 

At various times quite a considerable number of 
articles relating to intimate daily life has been discov- 
ered. An exceedingly fortunate find was that of an ivory 
comb of crude but careful workmanship, and which, even 
after the lapse of sixty-seven centuries, has only lost 
three of its teeth. This comb, according to the inscrip- 
tion on it, belonged to Bener-ab, a distinguished lady, 
whose tomb has been already mentioned, and who was 
either the wife or the daughter of King Mena of the first 

Of the class of domestic objects is the primitive but 
doubtless quite effective corn-grinder shown in the illus- 
tration. This was found in an undisturbed tomb in the 
Osiris temenos, where also was a strangely shaped three- 



sided pottery bowl, similar in shape to a stone bowl 
of the same period, but otherwise unknown in antiquity. 
This three-sided bowl may be regarded as a freak of the 

workman rather than as having any 
particular value along the line of evo- 
lution of pottery forms; and it is in- 
teresting to note that bowls of this 
form have been quite recently made by 
the modern English potters in South 
Devonshire, as the result of the invent- 
ive fancy of a village workman. 

During the course of the excavations 
at Abydos many thousands of fragments 
of pottery were collected. Those that appeared to be of 
historic value were sorted and classified, and, as a result 
of minute and extended labours, it is now possible for the 
reader to see at a glance the principal types of Egyptian 




pottery from prehistoric times, and to view their relation- 
ship as a whole. The diagram exhibits an unbroken series 
of pottery forms from s. d. 76 to b. c. 4400. The forms 
in the first column are those classified according to the 
chronological notation devised by Professor Petrie, en- 
abling a " sequence date " (s. d.) to be assigned to an 



object which cannot otherwise be dated. In the second 
column are forms found in the town of Abydos, and in 
the last column are those unearthed in the tombs. Most 










DEN 4600 




f 110 




of the large jars bear marks, which were scratched in 
the moist clay before being baked; some few were 
marked after the baking. Some of the marks are un- 
questionably hieroglyphs ; others are probably connected 




with the signs used by the earlier prehistoric people; 
and many can scarcely be determined. A typical instance 
of these pottery marks is shown in the illustration. 

These signs appear to be dis- 
tinctly of the time of Mer- 
sekha, and the fortified enclo- 
sure around the name may 
refer to the tomb as the 
eternal fortress of the king. 
These marks can be roughly classified into types accord- 
ing to the skill with which they were drawn. The first 
example illustrates the more careful workmanship, and 
the others show 7 more degraded forms, in which the out- 
line of the hawk and the signs in the cartouche become 
gradually more debased. 
It is tolerably certain that 
what are known as the 
Mediterranean alphabets 
were derived from a selec- 
tion of the signs used in 
these pottery marks. 

An undisturbed tomb 
was found by accident in 
the Osiris temenos. The 
soil was so wet that the 
bones were mostly dissolved; and only fragments of the 
skull, crushed under an inverted slate bowl, were pre- 
served. The head had been laid upon a sandstone corn- 
grinder. Around the sides of the tomb were over two 
dozen jars of pottery, most of them large. And near the 

.. iiimjumi 





body were sixteen stone vases and bowls. Some of the 
forms, such as are shown in the illustration, Nos. 3, 7, 8, 
are new to us. A strange three-sided pottery bowl 1 
was also found here, but since there is no mus'eum in 
England where such a complete tomb can be placed, 
it was sent to Philadelphia, in order that the whole series 
should be arranged as originally found. 

The sealings, the general description of which has 
been already given, have come to light in such consid- 



erable quantities during the past few years that their 
study became a special branch of Egyptology. As to 
the earliest sealings, it was not until the time of Den 
that a broad informity of style was established. The 
seals of the second dynasty are generally of a smaller 
style and more elaborately worked than those of the first 
dynasty. It is reasonable, therefore, to conclude that the 
later seals were made in stone or metal rather than in 

The illustration given of sealing No. 128, of the Egypt 
Exploration Fund collection, shows a very fair type of 

1 See page 402. 



the figuring of men and animals at the time of the first 
dynasty as a survival of the prehistoric manner of en- 
graving. Here, then, at the very dawn of history, we 
find a spirited depiction of the human form, for, rude 
though it is, there can be no doubt but that it is a rep- 
resentation of the human figure, and stiff and ungainly 
though the action of the drawing be, there can be no 
doubt as to the progressive movement intended by the 
artist. On a sealing, No. 116, is seen the leopard with 
the bent bars on his back. The shrine upon the same 
seal is of the general form, and is like the early huts with 
reed sides, and an interwoven palm-rib roof. This is a 
specimen of an intermediate manner of workmanship. 
The most advanced stage of art in the sealings of the first 
dynasty, is No. 108. This is the royal seal of King Zer, 
b. c. 4700, showing him seated and wearing the crowns of 
Upper and Lower Egypt. By his side are the royal staff 
and his cartouches. It was workmanship of this char- 
acter which survived in Egypt almost as late as Roman 
times; that is to say, the same style engraving was cur- 
rent in the Valley of the Nile 
for forty-six centuries. 

A particularly interesting 
sealing is a representation 
of two jars with the flat seals 
across their tops. These jars, 
moreover, are depicted as 


bound around with a network 
of rope in a manner which corresponds with some frag- 
ments of rope found around some jars of this character. 


A small fragment of pottery originally forming the 
base of a brown earthenware dish had inscribed upon 
it some accounts, and is the oldest of such business 
records yet found in Egypt. The 
exact import of the figures is not 
yet entirely intelligible, but they 
seem to refer to quantities of things 
rather than to individuals, as the 
numbers, although mostly twenty, 
are sometimes one hundred and two 
hundred. This interesting frag- 
ment was found at the tomb of Zet, accounts on pottery, b. c. 
and thus establishes the use of 
arithmetic before 4600 b. c. 

The expedition supported by Mrs. Hearst, in the name 
of the University of California, has done some useful 
work at El-Ahaiwah, opposite Menshiyeh. The main 
cemetery at this place is an archaic one, containing 
about a thousand graves or more, of which about seven 
hundred had already been plundered. Between these 
plundered graves, about 250 were found untouched in 
modern times. The graves yielded a good collection of 
archaic pottery, pearl and ivory bracelets, hairpins, car- 
nelian, garnet, gold, blue glaze and other beads, etc. 

About this cemetery was a cemetery of the late New 
Empire, containing a number of vaulted tombs built of 
unburned brick. These yielded a large number of neck- 
laces, and several fine pieces of faience and ivory, and 
other objects. A second cemetery, farther north, con- 
tained a few late archaic graves and about fifteen large 



tombs, usually with one main chamber and two small 
chambers at each end. These tombs were of two types 
(1) roofed over with wood, without a stairway, (2) 
roofed over with a corbelled vault and entered from the 


west by a stairway. The burials in these tombs are in 
the archaic position, head to south. Dissected, or sec- 
ondary, burials occur in these cemeteries, but only rarely. 
Only one indisputable case was found, as shown in the 


It would require several volumes adequately to deal 
with the results of the excavations of the present cen- 
tury. Further discoveries, all throwing new light upon 
the life of ancient Egypt, are being made each season, 
and the number of enthusiastic workers gathered from 
every nation constantly increases. Notwithstanding the 
heroic and splendid work of past investigators, for many 
years to come the valley of the Mle promises to yield 
important results, not only in actual field work, but also 
in the close study and better classification of the thou- 
sands of objects that are continually being brought to 

Six thousand years of history have been unrolled; 
tomb and tablet, shard and papyrus have told their story, 
and the vista stretches back to the dawn of human his- 
tory in that inexhaustible valley watered by the per- 
ennial overflow of the grandest river in the world. But 
there is much still to be accomplished by the enthusi- 
astic spirit, the keen and selective mind, in the study of 
this ancient land, the cradle and the grave of nations. 




Abbas Pasha, 181, 182 

Abbas Hilmi Pasha (Abbas II.), Khedive, 

225 228 
Abdullah Pasha, 162, 163 
Abercrombie, Sir Ralph, 141 
Abukir, 106, 109, 117 
Abul-Munegga, canal, 249 
Abydos, excavations at, 324, 392 

Tombs at, 357-392 

Plan of buildings at, 393 

Temple, 395, 396 
Abyssinia, 186, 206 
Acre, 20, 42 
Agriculture, 178 
Aha-Mena, tomb of, 365 
Ahmed, sultan, 53, 54 
Alexandria, Napoleon captures, 88 

Bombarded, 198 
Ali Bey, 79 
Alphabet, 308, 309 
Amnis Trajanus, 253 
Anglo-French Colonial Treaty, 267 
Anglo-French Convention, 266 
Antioch, 36, 37 
Ar. See Nile 
Arabi Pasha, attacks English, 197-199 

Defeat and exile, 200 
Arabs, 90 

Archaeological research, 319-408 
Army, Egyptian, 166, 195, 196 
Aswan, dam at, 268-271 
Aur. See Nile 
Ayyub, 28, 29 
Azab-Merpaba, tomb of, 381, 382 


Bahr-Yusef (River Joseph), 237, 249 
Baker Pasha, 202, 203 
Baker, Sir Samuel, 281, 283-286 
Baldwin, 11, 12 
Bar-el-Beda, palace, 181 
Baring, Sir Evelyn (Viscount Cromer), 
220, 223, 225 

Barka. See Khor Baraka 

Barrage, 239, 240, 267 

Bast, 343 

Bedouins, 90, 154 

Bey bars, sultan, 30-38 

Beybars, Jashingir, sultan, 48-52 

Birch, Samuel, 326 

Birket-el-Qarum (Lake of Horns), 237 

Black-death, 56 

Bonaparte. See Napoleon Bonaparte 

Bruce, explores Nile, 274 

Brueys, Admiral, 82, 96, 105-109 

Brugsch, H. C, 327, 328 

Bubastis, 343, 346 

Bunsen, C, 327 

Burckhardt, J. L., 275 

Bursbai, sultan, 66, 67, 70, 72 

Burton, Richard Francis, 276, 279 


Caffarelli, 98 

Cairo (Fostat), 14, 100, 102, 135, 136, 139 

Caisse de la Dette, 220, 221 

Canals, 177, 220, 246-257 

Caravans, 104 

Cemetery, 338, 408 

Census, 219 

Cha.mpollion, Jean Francois, 296, 306, 

320, 321 
Charles Martel, 5 
Chatillon, Renaud de, 17-19 
Cholera, 162 
Comb, 401 

Convention of London, 222 
Corn-grinder, 401 
Cotton, 155, 183 
Courbash, 233 
Courts, 186, 192, 230, 231 
Cromer, Viscount. See Sir Evelyn Baring 
Crusades, 3, 4, 9-11, 16-21, 24-31, 58 
Cuneiform writing, 345 


Daira Commission, 221 
Dam, at Aswan, 268-271 


Damascus, 165 

Damietta, 25-27 

Darius, 252 

Dead, Book of the, 315-318 

Delta, 239-241 

Deu Setui, tomb of, 378-381 

Dervishes, 224 

Disaix, 110, 111, 127 

Diogeues, 273 

Divan, 95, 103 

Djezzar, 112-114 

Domains Commission, 221 

Dongola, 212 

Dynasties, ancient, 362, 363 


Ebers, G. M., 328 

Edwards, Amelia B., 346 

Egypt Exploration Fund, 333-352, 353 

El-Adid, caliph, 12-16 

El-Adil, 23-26 

El-Adil II. , 28 

El-Afdhal, 11 

El-Amir, caliph, 11, 12 

El-Arish, 113, 129-131 

El-Haflz, caliph, 12 

El-Muiz canal, 249 

El-Mustali b'lllah Abu'l Kasim, caliph, 

Emin Pasha, 209, 289, 290 
Emir el-Momen6en. See Omar 
England, interests in Egypt, 193, 194, 
196, 197, 265 

War with Arabi Pasha, 199-200 

Assumes control, 201, 202 
Eratosthenes, 272 
Erman, Adolph, 328-331 

Faraj, sultan, 61, 62 
Fashoda, 215 
Fayum, 238 
Fellahs, 90, 231, 233 
Festival. See Nile 
Feudalism, 93 
Fost&t. See Cairo 
Fouli, battle of, 115, 116 
France, 193, 194, 196, 201 
French evacuate Egypt, 132-142 


Gambetta, 196 

Gibraltar (Jebel-el-Tarik), 5 

Gizeh, 102 

Godfrey de Bouillon, 11 

Gordon, General, 203-209, 217 

Goschen, G. T., 193 

Grant, James A., 279-281 

GnSbault, E., 342 
Greece, 158, 159 
Guy de Lusignan, 19 


Hasan, sultan, 56 
Hathor, temple, 325 
Hawara, pyramid of, 345 
Heliopolis, battle of, 135 
Herachleopolis Magna, 348 
Herodotus, 251, 272 
Hicks Pasha, 203 
Hieroglyphics, key to, 293 
Explanation of, 295-305 
Horns, battle of, 166 
Honorius III., pope, 25 
Horus, temple of, 325 
Hospital of Beybars, 41 

Iaro. See Nile 

Ibrahim Bey, 94 

Ibrahim Pasha, 156-160, 162, 163, 165- 
167, 181 

Illahun, pyramid of, 346 

Irrigation, 177, 219, 240, 244, 245, 267, 
270, 271 

Ismail Pasha, made Khedive, 183, 184 
Reforms of, 184, 185, 189 
Extravagance, 185, 189, 191, 192 
Deposed, 191, 195 

Israel, 350 

Jaffa (Joppa), 113 
Jebel-el-Tarik. See Gibraltar 
Jemil-Azar, mosque of, 90, 102 
Jeremiah, 330, 340 
Jewelry, ancient, 370, 371 
Jewish captivity, 314, 315 
Joppa. See Jaffa 
Joubert, 193 

Ka, tomb of, 364 
Ketboga, sultan, 44, 45 
Khalil, sultan, 42 
Khartum, 203, 205, 208, 213 
Khor Baraka (Barka), 246 
KhuMi, statuette of, 397, 398 
Khusekheraui, tomb of, 389, 390 
Kilawun (Kilwan), sultan, 38-41 
Kitchener, Sir Henry, appointed sirdar, 
Captures Khartum, 213-215 
Kiutaye (Kutayeh), 168 
Kteber, 89, 95, 110, 115, 123-141 
Knights, 7, 8 
Koniah, battle of, 167 
Perabsen, tomb of, 388 


Kopts, 90, 103, 229, 233 
Koran, 6 

Koursheyd Pasha, 148 
Kutayeh. See Kiutaye 

Labyrinth, 345 

Lake of Horns. See Birket-el-Qarum 

Latif Pasha, 154 

Learning, revival of, 7 

Lepsius, K. R., 327 

Lesseps, Ferdinand de, 

Begins Suez Canal, 259, 260 
Overcomes difficulties, 261-263 
Opens canal, 264, 265 

Library, 41 

Linant Bey, 239, 259 

Lisiant, Adolphe, 275 

Livingstone, David, 288 

Lloyd, Clifford, 202 


Mahdi (Messiah), 202 

Mahdism, 217 

Mahmud, sultan, 158, 170 

Mahmudiyeh canal, 246, 249 

Maill6, Jacques de, 18 

Malik Mughith, 33-35 

Malta 84 

Mamluks, 72, 75, 93, 94, 101, 150, 153 

Manuf, canal, 249 

Marchand, Major, 215 

Mariette Augustus, 185, 321-325 

Marinus of Tyne, 273 

Maspero, G. C. C, 326, 332, 335, 340, 341 

Matammeh, battle of, 205 

Maxwell, Sir Benson, 202 

Medum, pyramid of, 347 

Mehemet Ali, early life of, 143-147 

Made pasha, 148 

Destroys Mamluks, 153 

Regenerates Egypt, 154, 155, 177-181 

Organizes army, 156 

Made Kahn, 157 

Conquers Syria, 162-168 

Hereditary viceroy, 171 

Character, 172-176 
Mehkemmehs, 230 
Mena (Menes), 359 
Merneit, tomb of, 375-376 
Meroe (Merawi), 272 
Mersekha-Semempses, tomb of, 383, 384 
Missolonghi, 159 
Mceris, Lake, 219 
Moslems, 6, 8 
Mougel Bey, 239, 259 
Mountains of the Moon, 273, 274 
Muhammed, 5 
Muhaminedans, conquests, 4-7 

Muhammedanism, 7-9 

Muhammed Ahmet, El Mahdi, 202, 205, 

Muhammed el-Eln, 146-149 
Muhammed el-Kheir, 209 
Muhainined-en-Nasir, 44 
Muliammed Khursurf, 146 
Muhammed Said Pasha, 182 
Murad Bey, 94, 98-100, 189 
Mustapha Pasha, 162 
Mummy cases, 309, 310, 332, 333 


Napoleon Bonaparte, invades Egypt, 80- 
83, 87-89, 96-100 

Captures Malta, 84 

Policy in Egypt, 94, 95, 104 

Campaigns in Egypt, 110, 111 

Invades Syria, 112-116 

Attacks Turks, 118-122 

Return to France, 123 

Builds canal, 257 
Narmer, tomb of, 365 
Nasir, sultan, 46-48, 51-53 
Naukratis (Nehirch), 336 
Navarino, battle, 160 
Naville, E., 342-344, 351 
NechoIL, 250 
Nehirch. See Naukratis 
Nelson, admiral, 83, 87, 106, 109 
Nero, 273 

Nezib, battle of, 169 
Niger Convention, 216 
Nile (Ar, Aur, Iaro) festival, 104, 105 

Dams, 177, 240, 267-271 

Control of, 217 

Derivation of name, 235 

Valley of, 236-239 

Delta of, 241 

Overflow of, 242-246 

Exploration of, 272-281 
Nofri'ari, mummy of, 341 
Nur-ed-Din, sultan, 13-15 


Okba, 5 

Omar (Emir el-Momen6en), caliph, 6, 

219, 254 
Om Dubreikat, 216 
Omdurman, battle of, 203 
Osman-Bardisi, 145-149 
Osman Digna, 204 

Paleolithic man, 349, 350 
Papyrus rolls, 310, 311, 354, 356 
Pasht, 343 

Pelagius, 26, 27 


Feter, the Hermit, 3, 10 

Peter of Lusignan, 57, 58 

Pethrick, John, 275, 276 

Petrie, W. M. P., 334-339, 344-348, 350, 

Philip II., of Prance, 20 
Pithora, 333 
Pliny the Elder, 273 
Pompey's Pillar, 110 
Population, density of, 219 
Pottery, 402 

Ptolemais. See St. Jean d'Acre 
Ptolemy Philadelphus, 252 
Puntites, 351 
Pyramids, 100, 101 


Qa, tomb of, 384-388 


Raabites, 8 
Railway Board. 221 
Railways, 177, 178, 192, 219 
Ramses II., mummy of, 341 
Ramses III., 341 
Ravenstein, E. G., 289 
Reform, 218 
Religious orders, 7, 8 
Revenue, 155 
Revival of learning, 7 
Richard Cceur de Lion, 20, 21 
Ripon Falls, 280 
River Joseph. See Bahr-Yusef 
Rosetta Stone, 291-293, 320 
Rouge', E. de, 326 
Russia, 167 

St. Jean d'Acre (Ptolemais), siege of, 

114-116, 163 
Sakieh, 245, 246 
Saladin, 15-22 
Salt, 220 
Sanitation, 177 
Saqqara, 323 
Saracens, 5 
Schools, 41, 229 
Schweinfurth, Georg, 287, 288 
Sculpture, 397-399 
Seals, 403-406 
Sellar, 46-48 
Sesostris, 250 
Shaban, sultan, 54, 65 
Shadoofs, 245 

Sheikh Mahmudi, sultan, 62-66 
Signary, 307, 308 
Blatin Bey, 215 
Slave trade, 218, 285, 286 

Sma, tomb of, 364 

Smith, Donaldson, 290 

Smith, Sir Sydney, 114, 115, 122, 128, 

131, 133, 134 
" Song of the Harper," 313, 314 
Speke, John H., 276, 279-281 
Sphinx, 340 

Stanley, Sir Henry M., 273, 288-290 
Statuettes, ivory, 397, 398 
Steles, 391 
Strabo, 272 
Succoth, 333 
Sudan, 224 
Sudd, 242-244 
Suez, 177, 178 

Suez Canal, 185, 250, 257, 259-266 
Sweet Water Canal, 249 

Tahpanhes (Taphne, Tell Defenneh), 

Tamai, battle of, 204 
Tamerlane, 61 

Tanis, temple of, 323, 334, 337, 338 
Tarik, 5 

Taxation, 193, 222, 223 
Tel Basta, 343 
Tel-el-Amarna, 345 
Tel-el-Kebir, battle of, 199, 200 
Tel-el-Mashuta, 333 
Tel-el-Yehudieh, 342 
Tell Defenneh. See Tahpanhes 
Templars, 8 

Tewfik Pasha, 191, 195, 224 
Thomson, James, 289 
Tinn£, Alexandrine, 286, 287 
Tombs, discoveries in, 332, 360-400 

Plans of, 361, 364, 377, 384 
Trade, 58, 155, 178, 217 
Trajan, 253 

Tree-planting, 177, 178 
Turks, 76, 79, 93, 117-121 
"Two Brothers," tale of, 311, 312 


Urban II., pope, 10 

Victoria Nyanza, 279, 280, 283, 289 
Vincent, Sir Edgar, 202 


Wad en Mejumi, 210 
Wady Canal, 254 


Wages, 232 

Wahabis, 150, 156 

White Nile, 283-285 

Wilkinson, J. G., 326 

Winslow, W. C, 352 

Wolff, Henry Drummond, 224 

Wood, Sir Evelyn, 202 

Young, Thomas, 294-297 


Zer, tomb of, 368 

Zeser, tomb of, 364 

Zet, tomb of, 371, 373-375